8 Portions.

Skill level: Medium, 

Total cooking time: 3.5 hours, 

  • Prep time: 20 minutes, 
  • Cooking time: 2 and a half hours, 

Equipment used: 1 deep based pan with lid, 2 lasagne dishes, pestle and mortar

Original recipe: Jamie’s simple baked lasagne

This is not a simple lasagne. Although there isn’t a huge amount of skill required, there are multiple stages that will have you popping in and out of the kitchen at 30 minute intervals for nearly 4 hours. 

The original recipe states that this will serve 10, however I portioned this out as into 8 very generous helpings. If cooking for a smaller crowd, I’d still follow the  quantities outlined in the original recipe but assemble this in 2 separate dishes and freeze the second lasagne  after cooking. 

So is it worth 3 hours of cooking? Yes. The mince and accompanying tomato sauce was so flavoursome that it almost seemed a shame to bury it under a mound of white sauce – that is until you tasted the white sauce; delicious considering it takes 3 minutes to prepare. 

I have struggled in the past to impart flavour into roasted butternut squash (even with the chilli and coriander seed seasoning) however this held the chilli nicely and added some good texture to the dish. I also like the notion of cutting back on meat and bulking out a dish with some hearty veg and will look for more of these in future. 

 

To prep:

  1. Thinly slice 4 slices of pancetta
  2. Dice 1 carrot, 1 onion and finely chop 2 cloves of garlic
  3. Roughly chop the butternut squash, remove outer skin and de-seed. If you struggle to get your knife through the squash, add this whole into the oven for 15 minutes or so which will soften it enough to allow you to remove the skin and cut into sizeable chunks
  4. In a pestle and mortar, bash a teaspoon of coriander seeds and 2 whole dried red chillies.

 

To cook:

(Original recipe in bold text)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

In a large casserole-type pan slowly fry the pancetta and cinnamon until golden, then add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil.

Mix together, then add the beef and pork. (Roughly chop the mince before adding to the pan to make easier the process of combining meat and veg. Instead of using pork belly mince, I cut this into small cubes)

Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the tinned tomatoes and the wine or water. Add the bay leaves and bring to the boil.

Then get some greaseproof paper, wet it and place it on top of the pan with a lid placed on top as well. Then place in the preheated oven for 2 hours or simmer on the hob over a gentle heat for around an hour and a half.

Butternut squash slices ready to be roastedRub your butternut squash slices with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the bashed-up coriander seeds and chilli. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking the sauce.

When the sauce is done, season to taste and put to one side. Mix together your crème fraîche, anchovies, and a handful of Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. You may need to loosen the mixture with a little milk (This makes it easier to spread evenly over the tomato sauce, but if you prefer, simply place small dollops of sauce on top and this will naturally spread out as the lasagne cooks). 

Turn the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.

To assemble the lasagne, rub an earthenware lasagne dish with olive oil, lay some sheets of lasagne over the bottom and drape them over the sides. (I followed this stage, but found that the bottom layer of pasta stuck to the dish despite the coating of olive oil. In future, I would prefer to start with a meat base and work upwards from there.)

Add a layer of meat, a little white sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. (Having added a bit more parmesan to the white sauce than the original recipe stated, I left this stage out)

Break the butternut squash into pieces and use this as one layer, then repeat the layers, finishing with a layer of pasta covered in white sauce. (Making 3 lasagnes, I ran out of fresh lasagne sheets pretty quickly and opted to leave one dish without a pasta top. This still cooked and tasted fine.)

Tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle with some extra Parmesan. Cook in the preheated oven for 30–35 minutes until golden. 

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 rashers of pancetta (£2 for the pack containing 12 slices, 70p worth here)
  • 400g coarsely ground mince beef with 15% fat content, £4
  • 200g pork belly (£1)
  • 1 x white onion (10p)
  • 1 x carrot (10p)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cans of plum tomatoes (£1.50 for 4 / 75p here)
  • 2 glasses of wine 
  • 1 butternut squash (1.75kg @ £2.65) – I removed 200g worth to use in a lamb tagine
  • coriander seeds
  • dried chilli 
  • 1 pack of fresh lasagne sheets (£1.45)
  • 2 packs of mozzarella (£1 each, £2)
  • 500ml crème fraiche (although I think you could use more) (2 tubs of 300ml @ 85p each, £1.70 total)
  • 3 anchovies
  • parmesan
  • pinch of cinammon