Hello to you all,
This is without a doubt, the best lasagna in the world. Yes, we know that is quite a claim but we simply have to sing from the Palace rooftops about it – it’s that good. We must admit, it does take some dedication to make (it’s not a quick fix… there’s homemade pasta after all) but trust us, it’s worth it for the depth of flavour, the rich, velvety taste and serious comfort food factor.
Give it a try and let us know your thoughts. If you think you’ve got the best recipe for lasagna, please do share it with us and we’ll take it for a spin in the Palace kitchen.
With love from us all,
You will need
For the pasta
± 200 g homemade pasta (200g flour and 2 large eggs) or a box of store bought lasagna sheets will do!
For the ragout
500 g beef mince – full fat!
250 g back bacon, finely chopped into bits
2-3 leeks, washed and chopped into 1cm pieces
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1cm pieces
2 celery sticks, washed and chopped into 1cm pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
250 g large field mushrooms, wiped and chopped into 1cm pieces
2 Tbsp flour
150 ml red wine
250 ml beef stock
1 jar Pesto Princess Sundried Tomato Pesto
1 tsp oreganum
1 bay leaf
For the white sauce
500 ml milk
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
150 ml crème fraiche or cream cheese
150 g extra-mature cheddar, grated
… make the pasta
1. In a food processor, combine 200g flour and two eggs. Blitz until combined and crumbly. Remove from the processor and form into a ball. Place into a mixer or food processor with a dough hook or paddle and knead for 5-10 minutes. Wrap in cling film and let it rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
2. Once chilled, remove from the cling wrap and start feeding through the widest setting on your pasta machine, keep folding and feeding until the pasta has a very smooth, silky texture. Start adjusting the pasta machine setting one batch at a time to roll the pasta into a thin sheet. Cut into rectangles and dust generously with flour to stop your pasta sticking.
… make the ragout
1. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pot and fry the mince and bacon until just brown – breaking them up into fine pieces while browning – this will take about 10 minutes. Add the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for 2–3 minutes more. The mixture should look fairly dry at this point.
2. Sprinkle over the plain flour and stir it thoroughly into the mince and vegetables. Slowly stir in the red wine and beef stock. Add the jar of Pesto Princess Sundried Tomato Pesto, oreganum and a bay leaf and bring to a gentle simmer. Turn down the heat slightly and leave for 20–30 minutes until rich and thick, stirring occasionally.
Make the bechamel sauce
1. In a medium sized pot, heat the milk, onion and bay leaf gently for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain and set aside.
2. Melt the butter over medium to high heat and add the flour, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until a paste forms. Gradually start adding the milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Once you have added all the milk, season the sauce with a good grating of nutmeg and salt and pepper. Whisk in the crème fraiche and you are ready to assemble!
Spoon a third of the mince mixture into a large lasagna dish, top with pasta, then béchamel sauce and repeat, ending on a layer of béchamel sauce. Top with grated cheese, salt and pepper and bake at 200°C for about 15 minutes (if using home made pasta – or 30 minutes if using shop bought pasta).
Serve with a lovely bold red wine and great company!
Recipe and food styling by Michelle Parkin.
Michael Olivier’s Choice
Delaire Graff Botmaskop 2014
A great match to this dish. Delicious blend by Morné Vrey, Delaire Graff’s award-winning winemaker. Cabernet led in the style of a Bordeaux blend.
It looks like Bottled under cork in a Bordeaux shaped bottle. The livery is black with red and silver printing. In the glass, the wine is a rich Satsuma plum colour at the core and it pales out to ruby garnet at the edges.
It smells like Blackcurrants, roadside fennel, oak and its concomitant sweet spices and vanilla pod.
It tastes like Black berries and hedge brambles supported by the oak barrels, lovely gentle toasted oak. Layered and complex flavours opening up as you get down the glass. Nice fine tannins, well integrated with the fruit. Its acidity follows through into the long and pleasant back taste.