I really love lasagne. It is one of the best Winter evening meals that I can think of, and it also works well in the Summer too!
I made the meat sauce for this one with some odds and ends of beef, veal and pork that were in the freezer that I minced up and which worked really well. Nicer, I think, than shop-bought mince.
I sautéed some cubed pancetta in olive oil and then added in finely diced onion, celery and carrot with about five cloves of crushed garlic and a handful of chopped parsley (including the stalks), salt and pepper, dried oregano and majoram and cooked the lot until the vegetables were softened. Then I added the minced meat and cooked it until it lost the pinkness and added in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a heaped tablespoonful (a.k.a a big squeeze from the tube) of tomato purée and the remains of the red wine-based beef gravy leftover from last Sunday.
I let this simmer for a bit and added in some water so that the sauce didn’t become too thick. I cooked it for about an hour and a half and then assembled the dish, topping it off with a nutmeg-flavoured béchamel and lots of grated Parmesan cheese.
After about 45 minutes in the oven it was looking pretty good, so I put a ciabatta in the oven to warm through and made a simple lettuce and tomato salad and a vinaigrette and we were ready to go!
Obviously an Italian wine was called for and we had a bottle of red, a Cavalleresco Chianti 2008 from Laithwaites, which has had some mixed reviews on the website but which worked well with the lasagne. To be fair, it isn’t the best Chianti I have ever drunk but it is a wine that I think really needs food to bring out its best. This isn’t really unusual with Italian red wines, many seem to need food to complement them.