Lasagne II

This is a more economical version of Lasagne, since it requires only a little meat and omits some of the more expensive

Italian cheeses used in the traditional recipe. It is marvellous, nevertheless – make wonderful family dinner by serving it with a tossed green salad and some Chianti zuine.

3 tablespoons olive oil

6 oz. lasagne

15 fl. oz. bechamel sauce

4 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

2 fl. oz. vegetable oil

1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 medium-sized carrot, scraped and chopped 1 celery stalk, trimmed and chopped slices streaky bacon, rinds removed and chopped

1 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

8 oz. lean beef, minced

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

14 oz. canned peeled Italian tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato pur6e

3 tablespoons single cream

To prepare the sauce, in a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the bacon and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add the meat to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the meat is well browned. Stir in the orcgano, basil, salt, pepper, tomatoes with the can juices and the tomato puree, mixing until the ingredients are well blended.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer the sauce, stirring occasion-ally, for 1 hour. If after an hour, the mix-ture is very liquid, remove the lid from the pan, increase the heat to moderate and simmer for a further 15 minutes to evaporate the excess liquid. Stir the cream into the sauce and remove the pan from the heat. Set aside.

Half fill a large saucepan with water and add

1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Bring the water to the boil over high heat. Add half the lasagne to the pan, sheet by sheet, and cook it for

12 to

15 minutes or until it is al dente or just tender. When the pasta is done, remove it from the pan with a fish slice or tongs., being careful not to tear the sheets.

Add

1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan and cook the remaining lasagne in the same way. (The oil prevents the sheets of pasta from sticking together.)

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180 C) and with a pastry brush, lightly brush a 2i-pound loaf tin with the remaining oil.

Place one-third of the meat sauce mix-ture on the bottom of the tin. Pour over one-third of the bechamel sauce, then sprinkle over one-third of the Parmesan cheese. Cover the mixture with a layer of one-third of the lasagne. Repeat these layers until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a layer of Parmesan cheese.

Place the tin in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, or until the top is brown and bubbly. Remove the tin from the oven and cut into squares.

Serve at once.

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