My mate Annie’s been feeding me for weeks whilst I’ve been filming my BBC programme in Derbyshire; tonight she’s coming over for tea, which gives me the excuse I’ve been looking for to make Jamies Lasagne from his book Jamie’s Dinners. It’s a fresh take on the old chestnut, fiddly but hopefully worthwhile.
I picked up the book in a charity shop for a fiver a couple of months ago and I refer to it much more than I thought I would; never been a massive fan (perfect kids, perfect wife, perfect life aagh) but his recipes are fool proof, and the outcomes are invariably delicious. Plus he doesn’t go in for squidbeakery which is the entire point.
The squash, roasted with coriander seeds and chilli is a genius addition, setting it apart from anything else, plus a sneaky cheat’s white sauce, halving the preparation time. If you can’t be bothered to use both types of meat, just stick to lean minced beef; outcome = same.
How authentic is it? Who cares. It’s scrumptious. End of.
4 rashers pancetta or smoked bacon, finely sliced
a pinch of cinnamon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, ditto
2 cloves garlic, ditto
2 handfuls herbs (sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme)
400g minced beef
200g minced pork
2 x 400g tins tomatoes
2 glasses red wine and/or water
2 bay leaves
1 butternut squash, halved, de-seeded, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed
1 dried red chilli, crushed
Salt & pepper
400g fresh lasagne sheets
For the white sauce
1 x 500ml tub of crème fraiche
3 anchovies, finely chopped
2 handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese
A drop of milk.
Fry the pancetta and cinnamon til golden, add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and about 4 tablespoons olive oil. Add the meat. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and/or water and bay leaves. Simmer for about an hour. Put the sliced squash in a baking tray, pour a bit of olive oil on, season with salt, pepper and the bashed up coriander seeds and chilli. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. Mix together the crème fraiche, anchovies and a handful of Parmesan. Season. Add a bit of milk to loosen it.
Turn the oven to 200C/Gas 6. To assemble, rub a big square dish with oil, lay some sheets of pasta over the bottom and drape over the sides. Add a layer of meat, a little white sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Break the squash into pieces and use this as one layer. Repeat the layers, finishing with a layer of pasta covered in white sauce. Tear the mozzarella and sprinkle with more Parmesan. Cook in a pre-heated oven for half an hour.