Lasagna is one of those great dishes that lends itself to experimentation. There are so many wonderful flavours you can include in a lasagna, and as long as the pasta, bechmel sauce and cheese are included you will always be on the right path to a great lasagna.
This is one of those lasagna recipes that came from whatever was in the fridge and tasted so wonderful that I just had to share it. I started by creating a great flavourful mince mixture as the base of the dish with beef, olives, chilli, lemon juice and wine, and then layered it with the pasta and fresh wild rocket. The olives were a great inclusion as they shone through the dish with every bite.
Also, with the consistency of the mince mixture I didn’t have to make a tomato sauce which was a refreshing change!
Scotty is always the best gauge of how a recipe has turned out as he never holds back on his thoughts – something that definitely makes me a better recipe developer. I watched him intently as he took his first bite and the look he gave me (coupled with the subsequent rave review) confirmed that it was a winner (he felt it was as good as my families recipe for pasta al forno – big call)
Beef, Rocket and Olive Lasagna
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large red chilli, finely chopped
500g beef mince
3/4 cup tomato passata
12-16 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Splash dry white wine
Small handful continental parsley, finely chopped
2 sprigs fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 packet fresh lasagna sheets
200g wild rocket
grated parmeggiano reggiano
2 handfuls grated cheddar cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
Heat a large frypan over medium heat. Add olive oil and sautee onion, garlic and chilli until onion is translucent. Add beef mince and cook stirring constantly until browned. Once meat is browned add tomato passata, olives, lemon juice and white wine and stir well to combine. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano, take off the heat and set aside.
Spread a ladle of mince in the bottom of a baking dish and top with a layer of fresh lasagna sheets. Add another layer of mince and top with a handful of rocket. Top with grated parmesan and layer again with pasta sheets. Top with handful cheddar, then mince, rocket and parmesan, continue to layer till you are at the top of the dish.
Preheat oven to 180° Celsius.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy colour (about 5 minutes). Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate pan until just about to boil. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth. Bring to the boil then cook for 6 minutes, stirring constantly till thickened, then remove from heat. Season with salt.
Top the lasagna with the bechamel and then add a handful of grated parmesan. Place baking dish in the oven and cook until the top of the lasagna is golden and the edges are crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes then serve.