I am a big fan of Jamie Oliver and his book The Naked Chef was actually my first ever cookbook. And through the years I have gotten a few other of his books. But I have to say the his first ones are my favorite ones and have used some of them to bits. But his most recent one, Everyday Super food, is fantastic! Healthy recipes but not boring, just healthier takes on everyday food. Nothing too extreme.
But, back to this recipe. It is originally a Jamie recipe but I have changed it a bit so I can call it my own now ;) I know some of the ingredients aren’t your normal lasagna ingredients, like the butternut squash but it really works! And please don’t be afraid of the anchovies! They melt into the dish and would never ever know they are there. This is a great one to try when you have a bit of time on your hands, it’s not the quick and easy recipe for lasagna, I will put that in later.
4 slices of bacon or pancetta
pinch of cinnamon
500 gr. ground beef (I usually use 10% fat)
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
good handful fresh herbs, you can mix a few or just use one or two. My favorite mix is parsley, basil and sage but rosemary and thyme work really well
salt and pepper
1 large wineglass red wine (or water)
2 cans chopped tomatoes (or whole plum tomatoes)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
olive oil for trying
1 butternut squash
1 dried chili
1 teaspoon coriander seeds or ground coriander
500 gr. Crème fraîche or sour crème
100 gr. Parmesan cheese
4 anchovy fillets
few drops of milk
salt and pepper
Grated cheese of your choice, a mix of mozzarella and cheddar works well
Start by chopping the bacon and cook on a medium heat in a little oil and with a pinch of cinnamon until nice and golden. Add the beef and brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped vegetables and herbs and cook a futher few minutes. Normally I would never put the herbs in at this stage but it really does work here. It is important not to use dried herbs for this one, you have to go with fresh.
Pour in the wine and let it cook down a bit and the and the tomatoes and tomato puree. Lower the heat and let this simmer for at least an hour, two or three gives you the best result.
Heat the oven at 180° fan. Cut the butternut squash in ½ cm thick slices. Arrange on an oven tray and drizzle with a little oil. Bash the dried chili and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar until a fine powder.
Sprinkle over the squash and season with a little salt. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
Mix the Crème fraîche and grated Parmesan. Loosen with a little bit of milk if needed. The mixture shouldn’t be too thick, you need to be able to spread it out over the meat sauce. Mash up the anchovies with a fork or a knife and mix in. Season with salt and pepper.
And now for the fun part, putting everything together! Start by putting a layer of lasagna sheets in the bottom of an oven dish. Then meat sauce, white sauce, squash and repeat until you put a final layer of white sauce and grated cheese over everything.
This goes into 180° fan oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
But now for the difficult part…! Waiting! It is super important to let the lasagna rest for 10-15 minutes after you remove it from the oven. The pasta sheets soak up all the juice and everything relaxes together. With a dish like this you just want something simple. A crusty bread or a simple green salad is what I like with it. And perhaps a glass of Chianti on the side :) The perfect comfort food!