For this weekend's Sunday dinner I decided to try my hand at lasagne. Now, I know a lot of people make lasagne at home and looking at the recipe it's not that big a deal but for some reason, lasagne has always intimidated me, I think because of the layers and also the bechamel sauce. I have had some previous experiences of cooking bechamel with someone where we ended up throwing away so many batches because we didn't make it right the first time, so the idea of bechamel always used to freak me out. Now I have the Thermomix. :-)
I looked through my recipe books and didn't find a recipe for lasagne that I liked and then decided to let Google do the looking for me. I actually searched for "thermomix bechamel sauce" and not lasagne and found a lovely and simple looking recipe that I thought I could make.
The recipe did call for homemade pasta sheets but I decided to skip that step and just buy my pasta sheets from the store. Other than that, I mostly followed the recipe for the bolognaise sauce and the bechamel sauce.
Here are the recipes:
RECIPE for Bolognaise Sauce
- 500g Minced beef
- 50g Bacon
- 80g Celery
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Onion
- 50g olive Oil
- 2 x tins dices Italian tomatoes
- 1 x tin small tomato paste
- Salt and pepper
- Place Bacon, celery, carrot, onion and garlic into thermomix and mix for 15 seconds on speed 7. this finely minces everything.
- Add oil and saute for 3 mins at 100 degrees on speed 1.
- Add mince and cook on Varoma, Reverse, Soft for 10 mins. At this point I usually give the sides a scrape down to make sure everything is below the surface.
- Add tomatoes and cook for 15mins at Veroma temp on Reverse, Soft. Turn over the MC to reduce the spit effect.
- Once finished place in the Thermomix warmer to keep hot.
RECIPE for Bechamel Sauce
- 1Lt Milk
- 100g Plain Flour
- 60g Butter
- 1tsp salt
- Place all ingredients into the bowl and cook for 12 minutes at 90 degrees on speed 4.
- Chopping the butter into 4 smaller pieces stops the splash effect when you first turn the thermomix on.
I did do some things differently, because that is just me:
For the bolognaise sauce:
- Where it said "Place Bacon, celery, carrot, onion and garlic into thermomix and mix for 15 seconds on speed 7. this finely minces everything." I only ran the Thermomix for about 3 seconds because that almost minces the ingredients up without turning it to mush. Running the Thermomix for 15 seconds would have given you a fine paste. I didn't want that.
- I also left out the bacon from the mincing part of the recipe and decided to slice the bacon into thin strips and cook with the minced beef.
- I also had a few mushrooms that had been sitting in the fridge for a while and needed to be used up. Instead of throwing them in with the other vegetables, I sliced them up and included them in to cook with the minced beef so that I had slices of mushroom in the mix.
- After it cooked in the thermomix, I poured it out onto a pan and added a generous amount of Italian herbs and a teaspoon of chili powder. After that, I set the oven to 100 degrees C and put the whole pan into the oven to simmer for about an hour, just to really get the flavor going.
With the bechamel sauce, I added two handfuls of cheese to really give the flavor a good base. I like cheese to the sauce because to me it "grounds" the flavor of the sauce.
To assemble the lasagne
- Lasagne pasta sheets
- Bolognaise sauce
- Bechamel sauce
- Shredded cheese
- Handful of basil
- Assemble the lasagne in layers of pasta, bolognaise and bechamel repeatedly until finished in a large baking dish.
- Place a few leaves of basil on top of each layer, on top of the bechamel sauce.
- Top off with some shredded cheese
- Put into the oven and bake in oven for 45 mins in 180 degree oven with another 7-10 mins on 225 degrees to really brown the top.
That's pretty much it for my lasagne making efforts. It seems quite a long drawn out process with all the bolognaise making, bechamel making, assembling and baking but if you take it one step at a time, it's not too bad. That said, you still need to allow a fair bit of time for this whole thing to be prepared and cooked. I'd say allow yourself a good safe 3 hours from start to finish, though there's some down time in between like when the sauce is simmering and when the lasagne is in the oven. You don't need to be standing over it then.
Also, remember - this may be a thermomix recipe but people have been making lasagne without a thermomix for much longer than the thermomix has been around. You can easily make the bolognaise sauce and the bechamel sauce in a saucepan and get the same results.
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