Today I was making the ultimate "comfort food". Lasagne. Here is a step by step photo montage of the process.
First stage - have all your chosen ingredients ready for assembly - remember, that this is a dish easily made veggie with the substitution of "meaty" veg like aubergine or portobello mushrooms instead of the beef mince.
In this instance, we start with sugo, lasagne sheets, roasted minced beef, grated mozzarella, bechamel sauce and a finishing of freshly grated parmesan.
The first component is a light layer of sugo on the base, followed by the first layer of lasagne sheets - try and cover the whole base of your tray, even if you overlap the sheets.
Roasted beef comes next, covered by a layer of sugo.
Lasagne again, followed by the béchamel sauce & a sprinkling of grated mozzarella.
Start the process again - the more layers, the better.
Finish with lasagne, then sugo, then béchamel.
Top with grated Parmesan & freshly grated black pepper.
For the tomato sauce
We've been here before - this recipe for tomato sauce is the base of so many lovely dishes. Simply heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add garlic (keep the heat low, so as to not burn or even brown the garlic - we are looking for an almost translucent result). Add tomatoes, bring to the boil, then simmer until the oil rises to the top. Use a potato masher to break down the tomatoes.
For the béchamel sauce
500ml whole milk
1 bay leaf
50g plain flour
Gently bring the milk to the boil in a small saucepan with the bay leaf. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 20 mins.
Melt the butter in another saucepan, then add the flour. Stir continuously until a paste forms – this is called a roux. Continue cooking for 2 mins.
Remove the bay leaf from the milk with a slotted spoon and discard. Add the infused milk to the roux gradually, stirring as you go, until you get a smooth sauce. Cook for 5-10 mins, stirring continuously, until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.
For the roasted beef
Put everything in a baking tray and spread out across the tray. Put it in a high oven and roast until crispy.
After assembly, cover with a layer of greaseproof paper, followed by a layer of foil..
Put in a pre-heated oven - 180 degrees C or Gas Mark 5, for 35 minutes.
Remove the coverings and put heat up to 200 degrees C or Gas Mark 7 to crisp up.