Lasagna

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An italian classic for those of you who can be bothered to make it at home – trust me, it’s worth it; homemade is so much better than store-bought! Here is rich and creamy lasagna for two – perfect “I’m cooking for you” first-date material if you ask me. (You can thank me later).

Share them with that special someone, or with your hungry friends, or just with yourself if you’re in a stay-at-home eat all you can and watch a movie kind of mood. And if there are leftovers – keep them for bolognaise!

I like to take the opportunity to build up on flavour and add loads of spices I think would marry well with the whole – it really gives the dish a gorgeous, deep flavour. If you don’t have all the spices I’ve put in this recipe, just chuck in anything you think might work and surprise yourself with the outcome!

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6 lasagna sheets

50g grated parmesan

For the bolognaise :

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 packs ground beef

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp hot smoked paprika

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 small celery stick, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 star anis

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs thyme

1 small can chopped tomatoes

salt and freshly ground pepper

For the bechamel :

30g butter

30g flour

300ml milk

1 pinch nutmeg

salt and freshly ground pepper

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Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Start by making the bolognaise and bringing a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.

Fry off the meat in a big pan, and when it’s all nice and brown and caramelised, add all the spices with some seasoning. Fry off for a minute or two, then add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and star anis. Sweat down until soft.

Add the tomato paste, mix through and cook out.

Add the canned tomatoes and leave to cook down.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente IN BATCHES – Do not make the same mistake as me. They all ended up completely stuck together.

Finally, make the bechamel. Melt the butter and beat in the flour to make a light roux. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking all the time until thick and the flour is cooked out. Let boil a few seconds, then remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Begin your layering. Start by pouring in a layer of bolognaise. Place lasagna sheets on top, and spread over a layer of bechamel. Repeat until you come to the top of your dish, finishing with a bechamel layer. Sprinkle over the grated parmesan and place in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the top is nicely gratinated and golden brown.

Buon appetito!