It might be a dish one expect on a winter’s evenings in front of the fire, but no one complains when lasagne is on the menu – even in summer! There is just something magical about the flavoursome saucy meat combined with comforting pasta and those decadent layers of béchamel. Try Chef Pieter’s recipe using your left-over Christmas leg of lamb and pour a glass of Leopard’s Leap Merlot. Simple pleasures just are the best!
Cooking 90 minutes
3 packets store-bought lasagne sheets
Filling and béchamel
3 cloves of garlic
3 sticks of celery
½ a bunch of fresh rosemary
2 tsp dried oregano
3 x 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes
375 ml Leopard’s Leap Merlot
750 g left-over lamb, shredded
1 litre milk
a few peppercorns
75 g butter
75 g plain flour
100 g Parmesan cheese
1 x 125 g ball of buffalo mozzarella
a few sprigs of fresh basil
Peel and finely slice the garlic.
Peel all the onions, finely chop 3 and cut the remaining onion into wedges.
Trim and finely chop the celery and carrots, and pick and finely chop the rosemary.
Heat olive oil in a large, deep saucepan.
Fry the garlic over a medium heat for 1 minute, until golden. Add the finely chopped onions to the pan with the carrot and celery. Fry over a low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the rosemary, oregano, tomatoes, wine and a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 1 hour, until thickened.
Stir lamb into the meat sauce for the final 15 minutes, or until the meat is heated through and the sauce is thick. Stir the sauce regularly and loosen with a splash of boiling water if it’s too thick.
Preheat the oven to 180 ºC and start the béchamel sauce.
Pour milk into a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the peppercorns and the remaining onion and gently bring almost to the boil.
Melt the butter in a second saucepan. Stir in the flour to create a paste and cook over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, a spoonful at a time (discard the onion and peppercorns). Gently bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until you have a thick, smooth sauce. Grate and stir in most of the Parmesan and season to taste.
Grease a large rectangular dish with a little oil.
Place a single layer of lasagne over the base of the baking dish. Spread over a thin layer of meat sauce, top with another layer of pasta and then spread over a thin layer of béchamel sauce. Repeat as many times as you can (6 to 8, preferably), finishing with a layer of pasta topped with béchamel sauce.
Tear over the mozzarella, then finish with the remaining grated Parmesan, a drizzle of oil. Pick and scatter over the basil leaves. Bake the lasagne in the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden on top and bubbling at the edges. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
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