Friday, 7 November 2014

Extra Cheesy Bacon Lasagna

I feel I have been letting you all down somewhat on the cheese front. Yes there has been cheese cropping up, poking its head politely round the door to with a meek 'hello'; but I want in-your-face, obnoxious, heart and soul of the party cheese. And bacon, obviously. 

Bacon and cheese have long been in a happy and loving marriage. Look at this lasagna as a renewal of vows. The making of a family. A celebration of cheesy bacon-ness combined with the wonders of lasagna. This is as indulgent as it gets. Those are bacon bits on top.
Extra cheesy bacon lasagna

Quantities: Serves 6

Kitchen Stuff: Chopping board, large heavy based pan, hand whisk, high sided baking dish


Ingredients:  
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
500g good quality beef mince
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp oregano or dried mixed herbs
8 rashers of bacon 
400ml passata*
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 beef stock cube (use an oxo cube if possible)
50g butter
50g plain flour
600ml whole milk
one ball mozzarella, chopped into chunks
100g grated parmesan
100g grated mature cheddar
about 9 sheets dried lasagna
Salt and pepper
about 100ml slosh of red wine if you fancy (I never seem to have any left over)

*If you can't find passata, use an extra tin of chopped tomatoes and 2 tbsp tomato puree instead

Preheat the oven to 220C  

Method:

1. BEEFY: Chop 4 rashers of bacon into little pieces. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan and add your chopped bacon. Gently fry until golden and crisp. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and continue to cook gently for 10 minutes or so until softened. Turn up the heat, add the beef mince and cook, stirring until browned all over.
2. TOMATOEY: Pour in the passata, chopped tomatoes, and give it a stir. Add the wine, dark soy sauce, herbs and season with salt, pepper. Fill your chopped tomatoes tin with hot water and mix in the stock cube, add to your mince. 
Turn the heat down a bit and gently simmer for 1-2 hours. Some of the water will evaporate so don't worry if it's a bit sloppy at this point.
3.BACON: Fry the bacon rashers, slowly, until very crisp. Cool, crumble into pieces and set aside. (you can start making the bechamel as you're frying the bacon)
4. BECHAMEL: Pre-heat the oven to 200C. On a medium heat, melt the butter in a medium pan, and then sift in the flour and whisk it in. 
Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, then gradually whisk in the milk, and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper, then simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until thickened, Add the grated cheddar and stir until it's melted in. If it is too thick, add a dash more milk (just a dash!), you want the sauce to coat the back of a spoon like so ---->
5. LASAGNA, ASSEMBLE! Take a deep, wide dish and coat the bottom with a third of the meat sauce, topped with a quarter of the béchamel. Grate a thin layer of Parmesan onto the béchamel and scatter on a few chunks of mozzarella and some crispy bacon bits (saving some for the top!) before laying on the pasta sheets.
Repeat two more layers, and then top the last layer of pasta with the rest of the béchamel, and another sprinkling of Parmesan, before finishing with the remainder of the crispy bacon.
Place the lasagne on a baking tray and cook for 40 minutes until golden and bubbling. Rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy. 

Lasagne tastes even better the next day and freezes beautifully. If you're making one, I would advise making another and freezing it.