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Lasagna Con Pesto

Lasagna Con Pesto by Gino D'Acampo

GINO D'ACAMPO

Lasagna con Pesto Serves 6-8

I have chosen a recipe that everyone loves, Lasagna, but I've given it a bit of a pesto twist. I hope you enjoy it!

INGREDIENTS

12 fresh lasagne sheets (each approx 10x15cm)
500g minced beef
3 Tbsps of olive oil
1 large carrot (peeled and grated)
1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)
1 celery stick (finely chopped)
1 x 700ml bottle of passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 Tbsp of tomato puree
1 glass of Italian dry red wine
100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
50g salted butter (cold and cut into 1cm cubes)
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Bechamel sauce:
100g salted butter
100g plain flour
1lt full fat milk (cold)
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

For the pesto sauce:
40g of basil leaves
1 clove garlic (peeled)
30g pine nuts
120ml of extra virgin olive oil
20g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt to taste

PREPARATION

To prepare the pesto, place the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor.
Pour in the oil and blitz for about 10 seconds until smooth.
Transfer the mixture into a bowl and fold in the cheese.
Season with salt and set aside.

For the meat sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions, carrot and celery for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
Add in the minced beef and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes stirring continuously until coloured all over.
Season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Pour in the wine, stir well and continue to cook until the wine has evaporated. (approx 3 minutes).
Add in the sieved tomatoes with the tomato puree, lower the heat and continue to cook for 1 hour, lid off, until you get a beautiful rich sauce. Stir occasionally, (after about 30 minutes, taste for seasoning).


In the meantime, to make the Bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat.
Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute until it becomes a light brown colour.
Gradually whisk in the cold milk, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes whisking constantly.
Once thickened, stir in half of the Parmesan cheese with the nutmeg and the pesto that you previously prepared.
Season with salt and pepper and set aside to slightly cool.

Spread a quarter of the Bechamel sauce on the bottom of a deep ovenproof dish measuring approx 30x25cm.
Lay 4 lasagne sheets on top and if necessary cut them to fit the dish. Spread over half of the meat sauce then top with a third of the remaining
Bechamel sauce.
Lay 4 more sheets of lasagne on top and cover with the remaining meat sauce.
Spread over half of the remaining Bechamel sauce.
Add a final layer of lasagne sheets and gently spread the rest of the Bechamel on top making sure that you completely cover the lasagne sheets.
Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and scatter over the cubed butter.
Grind some black pepper over the whole lasagna.

Cook on the bottom of a pre-heated oven at 180º for 30 minutes then place the dish in the middle of the oven, increase the temperature to 200º and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes until golden and crispy all over.