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Cook1 hr 25 mins
Lasagne is a firm favourite with everyone. Unfortunately, with all that pasta, creamy sauce and fatty beef, it can be a huge meal. My version replaces some of the pasta and meat with vegetables, and compared to an additive-filled, processed version, this is much better for the waistline. All the Italian purists that I know will be up in arms, but for me this is a great dish that leaves me feeling full of energy.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- 400 g lean ground beef (must be the best quality, or you could try and get a butcher to mince it for you)
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 315 ml red wine
- 400 g plum tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 courgettes, thinly sliced lengthways
- 8 ounces roasted red peppers
- 4 sheets lasagna noodles
The cheese sauce
- 500 ml 1% low-fat milk
- 1 good grating whole nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons cornflour
- 1 teaspoon English mustard
- 80 g Mature cheddar cheese
- Heat up a big saucepan and add the olive oil. Sweat the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for around five minutes over a medium heat.
- Heat a frying pan up until very hot and cook the seasoned beef, without any oil, in batches. Then add the beef to the saucepan.
- The point of cooking the beef in batches is to get a good colour on it because this adds more flavour.
- When all the beef is in the saucepan, turn up the heat and add the wine.
- Cook until the wine has all been absorbed and then add the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, bay leaf and oregano. Season and simmer for 30 minutes or until rich and tasty.
- Preheat a conventional oven to 180ºC, or a fan-assisted one to 160ºC.
- Heat a griddle pan. Season the courgettes and lightly chargrill or sear on each side, then leave on a plate until assembling time. Drain the peppers and also add to the plate.
- For the cheese sauce: heat the milk up gently with a good grating of nutmeg, some salt and pepper. Mix the cornflour with 50ml of the milk and whisk back into the milk, continuing to cook for two to three minutes until thickened.
- Add the mustard and half the cheese. Check the seasoning and set aside.
- Now for the fun part: Take a baking dish and start layering up the ingredients. Start with a layer of meat, then peppers, then meat, then courgettes, then meat, then pasta and finally cheese sauce.
- Top with the rest of the cheese and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbling.