By our lovely friend Olivia, The Hungry Cook. We asked her to come up with a recipe that had a special meaning or family memory attached to it.
When both our babies were born, my brother-in-law made us the most delicious lasagnes. Lovingly made and divided into smaller portions so we could freeze them and eat on those nights when we were in a newborn fog and feeling particularly worn out. I don’t think I have ever appreciated a meal as much as those. This isn’t that particular lasagne recipe (I’m leaving that for him to share) but a very tasty one all the same!
Also known as ‘broken lasagne’, this dish uses lasagne sheets that have been snapped (or accidentally broken) into smaller pieces and mixed through the meat sauce before topping with cheese sauce and baking until golden. It cuts the assembly time down and means you can use any shaped dish. I like to use this method whenever I'm feeding a crowd.
This recipe uses Ironclad’s ‘The Grande Legacy Pan’ and will feed 10-12. You can half the ingredients to serve 4-5 and use a regular sized oven dish.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
750g beef mince
2 teaspoons dried oregano
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 button mushrooms, finely chopped
700g tomato passata
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 handful fresh basil leaves
100g baby spinach
⅓ cup plain flour
170g cheese, grated, I used a mixture of mozzarella and edam
500g dried lasagne sheets/strips
30g cheese, grated
A few basil leaves, roughy chopped
Heat the oven to 180ºC.
Fry the onions and carrot in the olive oil over a low heat for 8 minutes or until softened. Increase the heat and add the mince. Break apart with a wooden spoon and fry until browned. Add the oregano and garlic and fry for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms.
Once the mushrooms have softened, add the passata, 300mls water, worcestershire sauce and basil leaves. Season with sea salt and cracked pepper. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the baby spinach and cook for a further 5 minutes.
While the meat sauce is cooking, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the flour, stir to combine then fry for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and add ⅓ of the milk, whisk until smooth. Pour in the remaining milk and cook for 5-8 minutes or until thickened, stir regularly. Remove from the heat and add the grated cheese, stir until melted through.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Snap the pasta sheets or strips into pieces roughly 5cm in size, do not worry if they’re all random shapes and sizes. Cook using packet instructions or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Pour ⅓ of the white sauce into the base of your baking dish. Add the pasta and meat sauce and mix until well incorporated. Pour over the remaining white sauce and top with extra cheese.
Scatter over chopped basil and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbling.