Lasagne is my favourite sharing food. It looks great, you can vary the contents and you can prepare it ahead or cook it in stages. We had some for dinner in the garden this week. The weather was clear – and chilly – but the lasagne kept us warm. As a young person in bedsit land I really looked forward to the weekly lasagne night at my friend Fiona’s. We stuffed whatever vegetables were cheap at the market that day into a huge ovenproof dish, and added tomatoes and loads of Bel Paese cheese. The lasagne sheets were an afterthought. A few years later, when my children were little, we often went away with friends for Christmas. Every family would bring a lasagne to share on the first night. My daughter ate so much of it when she was about four, that she has not touched it since. It’s still one of my favourites, especially this gluten-free version. My friend Daniel showed me how to make the sauce. It beats bechamel hands down.
for the meat sauce:
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
500 gr minced meat
400 gr tinned chopped tomatoes
100 gr tomato puree
1 glass wine, red or white
salt and pepper
for the white sauce:
250 ml creme fraiche
125 ml plain yoghurt
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
250 gr precooked gluten-free lasagne sheets
125 gr mozzarella, torn to shreds
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
For the meat sauce: soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the meat. When it is browned add the wine, tomatoes, tomato puree, cumin and thyme and some salt. Once it has come up to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about an hour until thick, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it gets very thick, put on a lid. Taste for seasoning.
For the white sauce: Blend all the ingredients together.
To build the lasagne: Put a layer of lasagne sheets in the bottom of a dish (about 20 x 25 cm) without letting them overlap. Now add a thickish layer of meat sauce, then a thin layer of white sauce. Substitute mozzarella for one layer of white. Keep building until everything is used up. Finish with a layer of white sauce and top with the Parmesan.
Bake at 180 degrees C for about 45 minutes. If it gets very brown, cover with a sheet of aluminium foil, but do not take out of the oven too soon or it may not be cooked through.