Winter Warmer

This pasta dish is perfect for a family supper. It needs no accompaniment other than a salad and some Chianti wine.

6-8 SERVINGS

2 fl. oz. olive oil

1 lb. green lasagne

24 fl. oz. bechamel sauce

6 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

2 oz. butter

2 large onions, finely chopped

1 lb. uncooked chicken meat, minced

1 lb. veal, minced

1 oz. flour

10 fl. oz. chicken stock

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

8 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

1 lb. spinach, cooked and drained

3 tablespoons single cream

First prepare the filling. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the onions and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until they are soft and translucent but not brown. Add the chicken and veal to the pan and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the meat is lightly browned.

Stir in the flour, chicken stock, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to the boil.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and spinach and simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and remove the pan from the heat. Set aside.

Meanwhile, half-fill a large saucepan with water and add half of the olive oil. Bring the liquid 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 cooked, remove it from the pan with a fish slice or tongs, being careful not to tear the sheets.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and cook the remaining lasagne in the same way.

Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F (Gas Mark 4, 180°C).

To assemble the lasagne, in a large lightly greased ovenproof casserole, make a layer of pasta. Cover it with a layer of the filling and then with alternating layers of bechamel sauce and Parmesan cheese. Continue making alternate layers of pasta, filling, bechamel sauce and cheese, ending with a layer of pasta sprinkled liberally with Parmesan cheese.

Place the casserole in the oven and cook the lasagne for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the casserole from the oven.

To serve, cut the lasagne into 3-inch squares and use a fish slice to remove them from the casserole.

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