Yesterday I was craving a taste from home…no not Zambia…the UK. Don’t get me wrong I love a bit of African soul food, but when that gets tiring it’s nice to try something different, or in this case something familiar. Now this dish isn’t exactly a British dish, so I guess “a taste from home” isn’t an accurate way to describe it. However it is a meal that is regularly eaten in the UK. If you haven’t already guessed it, it’s delicious mouth watering lasagne. Lasagne is a classic Italian dish. It is made from layers of pasta sheets, and minced meat; and sometimes includes a variety of vegetables as well. Many people have their own classic spin on the dish, but the best way to improve your lasagne is by trial and error. But to get you started follow this simple recipe to make your very own Lasagne for the family, it is guaranteed to be a hit.
Prep & Cook time: 2 ½ hrs
- 3 tbsp olive oil/vegetable oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 carrot about 100g , chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 500g pack of minced beef meat
- 500g pack of minced pork meat (optional)
- 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- 2 beef stock cubes crushed
- About 400g dried pasta sheets
- 50g cheese, finely grated
- Ground black pepper
For the white sauce
- 1½ l milk
- 1 onion thickly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 100g butter
- 100g plain flour
First make the white sauce. Put the milk, onion and garlic cloves into a large saucepan and boil gently, on a medium heat; add some salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and set aside for 1 hr for the flavours to infuse.
Heat oil in a large pan; add the onion, carrot and garlic. Gently cook together until the vegetables are soft. Tip in all the minced meat and using a wooden spoon, stir together and break up the lumps of mince against the sides of the pan. Cook the mince until it is brown and cooked through. Now add your tomatoes, salt and pepper (to taste), and stir. Then add your stock cubes, mix well and allow it to simmer. Cover and cook for a further 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add about 2 tbsps of tomato paste and stir well. Cook until the mince is tender and the sauce is thick. Taste and season further if need be. If the sauce is too thick, add more water, likewise if it is too thin, keep it cooking until it thickens.
Now finish the white sauce. Pour the milk into a jug. Melt the butter in the same pan, using a wooden spoon, mix in the flour and cook for 2 mins. Stir in the milk, a little at a time. Initially the mix will thicken to a doughy paste, but keep going, adding milk gradually to avoid lumps, and continuously stirring. When all the milk is in, bring to a gentle simmer, and keep stirring. Allow it to thicken and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oven to 180 °C. Spread a spoonful of the mince meat sauce over the base of a large casserole dish. Cover with a single layer of pasta sheets, and then add bit of the white sauce. Add another layer of the meat sauce and scatter a little cheese on top. Repeat the layers as follows; pasta, white sauce, meat and cheese until everything is used. Add a final layer of pasta and the last of the white sauce and cheese. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 1 hr until it’s bubbling, browned and crisp on top.
Cut a large slice of the lasagne and serve with a fresh light salad and a cool beverage. Enjoy!
Kanta Temba is a cake maker and decorator. She is also the owner and founder of Kanta Kakes – cake shop.
You can find her work on www.kantakakes.com. Follow her on twitter @KantaKakes and Instagram @KantaTemba.