Posted on: June 10th, 2010 by admin 1 Comment

This week was Kel’s birthday, the youngest, and although I live on the opposite side of the planet I knew exactly what to make for dinner on her birthday.  Her favorite – a great lasagne.  Truth is I never really made one before- Beans always makes them, but being busy with work the task was up to me.  I asked Jamie, Ina, Stephanie, Nigella, and the Italian Mum’s that I work with and woh, out came the best lasagne I have had in a long time.

It’s quite easy to make- just a bit of prep time.  We like to add veggies and also have a layer or two of bechamel sauce.   For vegetarians, the meat can easily be substituted from crumbled firm tofu.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 600g (1.3 lb) lean beef mince VEGETARIANS firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 400g (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 10 – 14 sheets lasagne pasta
  • a few large handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Basic Bechamel sauce with parmesan (optional)
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 brown onion, halved, coarsely chopped
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 40g butter
  • 2 Tbsp plain flour
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Salt & ground white pepper

Bechamel sauce recipe below – if you’re using it, make it first!


For the lasagne:

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened.  Add the mince, and cook, stirring to break up the meat, for 5 minutes or until browned.

Put the pasta sheets on to boil- we’re just going to cook it for about 10 minutes- to soften it before baking- so keep your eye on it.  Just take it off the heat and drain the water after 10 min or soft.

Now add carrot, tomato paste, tomato and oregano to the mince mixture. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper.


Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF). Lightly grease a 6cm-deep, 20cm square or rectangle baking dish. Arrange 2 pieces of pasta over base of dish. Spread one-third of the mince mixture over pasta. Top with one-third of the spinach. Top with pasta pieces.  Then a layer of bechamel sauce (if using) then more meat, a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, spinach, pasta, bechamel,  meat, until you reach the top of the pan.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until cheese is golden and melted. Let it stand for 10-20 minutes (to set). Serve.

For the bechamel sauce:

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until gently foaming. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until mixture bubbles and begins to come away from side of pan. (When making a sauce that contains flour, it’s important to cook the flour. If you don’t the sauce will taste floury) Remove from heat.

Pour in half the milk gradually (otherwise the sauce will become lumpy), whisking constantly until mixture is smooth. Gradually add the remaining milk, whisking until smooth and combined. (If sauce becomes lumpy, strain through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to remove any lumps.)

Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Taste and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Recipe for bechemel sauce adapted from and the rest is ours.

Song for this recipe:

“Kelly watch the stars” – Air Air - Moon Safari - Kelly Watch the Stars

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One Response

  1. Kell says:

    Thanks bean!!!!!

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