Friday, 28 November 2014

The Best Lasagne with Mature Cheddar & Gruyere Cheese Sauce

The Best Lasagne with Mature Cheddar & Gruyere Cheese Sauce

The ultimate homemade lasagne!

Serves 6
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time:  50-60 minutes

For the tomato sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 garlic clove, peeled & crushed
Pinch of caster sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped
1 bay leaf
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

For the meat sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots, peeled & finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled & finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
500g lean minced beef
1 sprig fresh thyme, stalks removed
2 bay leaves
5 basil leaves, torn
375ml red wine, Chianti or merlot
Pinch of caster sugar
2 tsp tomato puree

For the cheese sauce:
600ml milk
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
Slice of onion
60g butter
60g plain flour
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
100g Gruyere cheese, grated
Salt & pepper

12 pre-cooked lasagne sheets
100g Parmesan Cheese

Preparation method

1.  To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a pan and add the tomatoes and garlic for 3-4 minutes.  Now add the sugar, thyme, bay leaf and seasoning. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have reduced.

2.  For the meat sauce, heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the shallots, carrots and celery for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured.  Add the mince and cook for 5-8 minutes until the meat is browned.  Add the thyme, bay leaves, basil and red wine.  Reduce slowly over a gentle heat until thick.  Season to taste, and add the sugar to taste, now stir in the tomato puree and take out the bay leaves.

3.  To make the cheese sauce, pour the milk into a saucepan and add the bay leaf peppercorns and onion.  Heat gently to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat, cover and allow to infuse for 10 minutes.  Strain the milk into a jug.  In a separate pan melt the butter and sprinkle in the flour and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the warm milk.  Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring.  Cook, stirring until thickened and smooth.  Stir in the mustard and both cheeses, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

4.  Remove the bay leaf from the tomato sauce and combine this with the meat sauce.  Combine the meat sauce with a quarter of the cheese sauce.

5.  Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas mark 3.

6.  To assemble the lasagne, grease a oven proof dish, spread a spoonful of meat sauce over the base of the dish. Add a layer of lasagne sheets and top with one third of the meat sauce, then drizzle over some cheese sauce.  Repeat this and top with a final layer of lasagne sheets and cover with the cheese sauce.  Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese and place in the oven for 35-45 minutes until golden brown.