Bilby Bites - the food blog from Bilby Marketing

Jamie’s Lasagne

New Year's Eve has, in the past, been a complete non-event for me. Between the ages of 17 & 21, living in Sydney, I pretty much forced myself to go out and have a good time, like many other people no doubt. After a few years of utter disappointment amongst crowds of drunken people - goodness knows how anybody gets drunk at NYE when queuing for a drink at pubs and clubs takes up most of the evening - I decided that the only way I can enjoy myself is to be with good friends or at home with some indulgent & fattening food, a glass of decent wine and a DVD. For the last few years JC and I have bought ourselves a series of The Sopranos, a bottle of good red wine and we have collapsed on the sofa with a bowl of pasta and meatballs.

This year things didn't quite work out the way we had planned. JC had a craving for lasagne so we ditched the meatballs and The Sopranos Season 6 (both DVDs) didn't arrive from Amazon despite booking a next day delivery. I am not a massive fan of lasagne so I tried to find something with a twist and Jamie Oliver came through for me. This lasagne notably contains pancetta as well as butternut squash roasted with coriander seeds and dried chilli - the coriander seeds did it for me. Lasagne is notoriously fiddly and this one is no different so bear that in mind. I made a few changes to the original recipe to suit our tastes, but I don't think it took much away although Jamie might disagree. Next year I have no idea what we will do as this is the last series of The Sopranos so I think it will be onto a new theme - perhaps curry and a Bollywood night? It will take me 364 days to convince JC this is a good idea.

Jamie Oliver's Lasagne

Jamie Oliver's Lasagne

Lasagne & Friends

Lasagne & Friends

More Lasagne!

More Lasagne!

Ingredients

  • 103g packet pancetta cubes
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 handfuls of fresh rosemary & thyme (combined, not each!)
  • olive oil
  • 500g minced beef
  • 400g minced pork
  • 2 x 400g tins/boxes of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 glasses of red wine
  • Optional: 2 tbsps tomato ketchup
  • 1 butternut squash cut into 4mm slices
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 400g fresh lasagne sheets
  • 400g mozzarella, torn up
  • 1 x 500ml tub of creme fraiche
  • 2 handfuls of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • optional: milk

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180℃/350℉/gas 4.
  • In a large casserole-type pan slowly fry the pancetta and cinnamon until golden, then add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix together, then add the beef and pork and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and the wine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer on the hob for 1 1/2 hours. You can also put this in the oven for 2 hours if you prefer. Towards the end of the cooking time I also added 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup here (yep!) as I thought the consistency too watery, but I will leave that up to you.
  • Peel, de-seed and slice your butternut squash. Rub the slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, the crushed coriander seeds and chilli flakes. Roast in the oven for the last 45 minutes of the sauce cooking time.
  • When the sauce is done, season to taste and put to one side. I let mine simmer for an extra half an hour because I wasn't completely happy with the consistency - it was too watery - so this won't hurt.
  • Mix together the crème fraiche and Parmigiano Reggiano, adding a little milk if you need to loosen the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Turn the oven to 200℃/400℉/gas 6. To assemble the lasagne, rub an earthenware lasagne dish with olive oil, lay some sheets of lasagne over the bottom and drape them over the sides. Add a layer of meat, a little white sauce and a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano. Place half of the butternut squash slices on top of the previous layer and then repeat the layers of meat, white sauce, cheese and butternut squash one more time finishing with a layer of pasta covered in white sauce. Tear the mozarella and sprinkle with some extra Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Cook in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until golden.

Bilby Boost

  • I omitted a couple of things from Jamie's original recipe including anchovies from the white sauce and bay leaves from the tomato sauce. Anchovies because JC is not a fish fan & bay leaves because I had run out. The lack of these two did not ruin the finished product.
  • Jamie suggests using 2 handfuls of fresh herbs to include sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme. I only used rosemary and thyme.
  • I was lucky enough to find a butternut squash that was long and relatively thin which meant that slicing into 4mm discs was very easy - try to look out for one of these. Jamie's recipe refers to both sliced and chopped squash so feel free to do whichever you prefer. It will inevitably taste the same! Just make sure it works as a complete layer.
  • I served steam broccoli and courgettes with this in a bid to inject some vegetables into the festive, porky pig series of dinners we had been eating for a week.