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Kenny Logan's lasagne

Everyone thinks lasagne is a simple meal but it takes time and dedication to make a really tasty dish. This recipe combines traditional Italian with a not-so-traditional sharp Cheddar

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Ingredients (Serves 6)
  • 1 pack ready-to-cook lasagne sheets
For the meat sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 800g/13/4lb minced beef
  • 150g/5oz minced pork
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200ml/7fl oz red wine
  • 200ml/7fl oz whole milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 x 410g can plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • Pinch of sugar
For the white sauce
  • 75g/3oz butter
  • 75g/3oz plain flour
  • 900ml/11/2pt warm milk
  • 125g/41/2oz strong white Cheddar cheese, grated

For the meat sauce, heat the oil in a heavy, cast-iron casserole. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic then cook gently for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the beef, pork and a good pinch of salt, then increase the heat a little and brown the meat for a few minutes.

Pour in the wine and let it bubble until it has reduced down, cooking off the alcohol. Add the milk, bay leaves, oregano and a good grinding of black pepper, then simmer for about 5 minutes, until the milk is fully incorporated.

Chop the tomatoes roughly in the can using a sharp knife. Tip the tomatoes into the casserole and add 1/2 can of water, the tomato purée and sugar. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6.

For the white sauce, melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook, stirring, to form a smooth paste. Pour in the milk, whisking all the time. Bring to a simmer and simmer gently until you have a glossy smooth sauce. Remove from the heat and beat in the grated Cheddar cheese.

Spread about a quarter of the meat, or ragu, sauce over the base of an ovenproof baking dish. Cover with a layer of the white sauce then arrange a single layer of lasagne sheets over the top. Repeat this process, finishing with a final layer of white sauce, until all the ingredients are used.

Place the dish on a baking tray in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, until the lasagne is golden and bubbling all over. Allow to settle for 5 minutes before serving with a crisp well-dressed salad.

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