Lasagne was always such a favourite of mine that, when I was 10, we decided that for the family tea I would be responsible for it and it was the dish that everybody voted for the Friday night!
There I would be with the basic store cupboard ingredients, but occasionally I veered off the traditional route. I was known to bulk out my meat sauce with kidney beans, cannellini beans or whatever would make the 1lb of mince go further, even in those days. Yes, a whole 34 years ago.
I always chose good steak mince from Muirhead the butchers in Calderwood Square, East Kilbride. I’m not sure if they are still there, but if they are, say hello for me!
It’s so important for me to know where the meat I use comes from and I have to prove it within The Scotch Beef Club. I think the positives to come from all the horsemeat scandal would be that we shop local and get to know the suppliers, farmers and the producers.
So next time you are at your local market or shop, speak to the butcher or if you can only manage a supermarket then just look for the label ‘Scotch Beef.’
In my restaurant I have to prove where I got the meat from, which farmer and which beast, all of which I keep records of. So you just need to look for the Scotch Beef sign and you know that Quality Meat Scotland has done all the hard work for you! On their website there are great hints and tips on buying and cooking.
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 sprig rosemary, 1 sprig thyme and some basil leaves all chopped (Alternatively 1 tsp chopped herbs)
500gr Scocth Beef mince
125ml red wine optional
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes (sometimes tinned tomatoes are quite sharp you can add ½ tsp sugar)
150ml beef stock (stock cube is fine)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the béchamel/white sauce
500ml whole milk (warm with onion & bayleaf in a jug)
2 bay leaves
25gr plain flour
50gr Grated Scottish cheddar
1 pack dried lasagne sheets
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
1. Heat a heavy based pot and brown the mince & add the onion, then the garlic and herbs and fry for one more minute.
2. Cook until the liquid from the meat has been absorbed.
3. Pour red wine if using and stir well. Cook for approximately 10 minutes.
4. Once the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes and stock. Leave the mixture uncovered to cook slowly for 30 mins. Top up with more warm stock if necessary. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
5. In a separate saucepan melt the butter and add the flour. Beat well and cook for one minute. Take the warm milk and add a little to the flour mixture. Combine well, keep going until all mixed in, whisking or stirring continuously. Lastly fold in cheese, leaving some to scatter over the top.
6. Now have your oven dish ready and start layering mince, sauce & dry pasta until all the mix is finished. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes
7. Serve with a large salad and glass of wine to match!
You can also add to this if you have mushrooms or peppers to spare, or indeed more wine. The cheese can be mozzarella for the top or whatever cheese is your favourite. So do the basic recipe first, time then turn up the heat... Have fun and see you next week!
Simply Special: how to make a classic cheese sauce
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