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Lasagne Verde

ingredients

serves 6
Ragu (see below)
1 tbsp olive oil
250 g (8 oz) lasagne verde
60 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
Bechamel Sauce (see below)
salt and pepper
green salad, tomato salad or
black olives, to serve

method

1. Begin by making the ragu. Cook for 10 - 12 minutes longer than the time given, in an uncovered pan, to allow the excess liquid to evaporate. To layer the sauce with lasagne, it needs to be reduced to the consistency of a thick paste.

2. Have ready a large pan of boiling, salted water and add the olive oil. Drop the pasta sheets into the boiling water a few at a time, and return the water to the boil before adding further pasta sheets. If you are using fresh lasagne, cook the sheets for a total of 8 minutes. If you are using dried or partly precooked pasta, cook it according to the directions given on the packet.

3. Remove the pasta sheets from the pan with a slotted spoon. Spread them in a single layer on damp tea towels (dish cloths).

4. Grease a rectangular ovenproof dish, about 25 - 28 cm (10 - 11 inches) long. To assemble the dish, spoon a little of the meat sauce into the prepared dish, cover with a layer of lasagne, then spoon over a little bechamel sauce and sprinkle some of the cheese. Continue making layers in this way, covering the final layer of lasagne with the remaining bechamel sauce.

5. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and bake in the preheated oven, 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5, for 40 minutes, until the sauce is golden brown and bubbling Serve with a green salad, a tomato salad, or a bowl of black olives.

bechamel sauce

300 ml (1/2 pint)1 1/4 cups milk
2 bay leaves
3 cloves
1 small onion
60 g (2 oz) 1/4 cup butter, plus extra for greasing
45 g (1 1/2 oz) 6 tbsp flour
300 ml (1/2 pint) 1 1/4 cups single (light) cream
large pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

1. Pour the milk into a small pan and add the bay leaves. Press the cloves into the onion, add to the pan and bring the milk to the boil. Remove from the heat and set it aside to cool.

2. Strain the milk into a jug and rinse the pan. Melt the butter in the pan and stir in the flour. Stir for 1 minute, then gradually pour on the milk, stirring constantly.

3. Cook the sauce for 3 minutes, then pour on the cream and bring it to the boil Remove from the heat and season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

ragu

3 tbsp olive oil
45 g (1 1/2 oz) butter
2 large onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, sliced thinly
175 g (6 oz) streaky bacon, chopped into
small strips
2 garlic cloves, chopped
500 g (1 lb) minced (ground) lean beef
2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
1 tbsp flour
425 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup beef stock
150 ml (1/4 pint) 2/3 cup red wine
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

1. To make the ragu: heat the oil and the butter in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Add the onions, celery and bacon pieces and fry them together for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
2. Stir in the garlic and minced (ground) beef and cook, stirring, until the meat has lost its redness. Lower the heat and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
3. Increase the heat to medium, stir in the tomato puree (paste) and the flour and cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, beef stock and wine, and bring to the boil, stirring. Season the sauce and stir in the oregano and nutmeg. Cover the pan and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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