Rachel's Sunday Lasagne

Best Lasagne ever
One of the things I miss most about being in Brazil is Sunday Lunch.

When I say Sunday Lunch is the one that starts about 11:00 am (right after breakfast as we are not exactly early morning people) with the cooks of the family cooking together, many times around a beer (yes a beer - you are allowed to drink beer any time after 10 ;-)).     Lunch will end up being served at 3 o'clock and will go during the whole afternoon.

First some nibbles and Cachaca, then a big meal followed by dessert and cheese and finishing up with a "cafezinho"  - coffee always served in small cups, strong, hot and most of the times with heaps of sugar.    

This Lasagna is one of my Sunday family favourites.   Now you are going to say:  Lasagna is not brazilian food...  no is not but not only of beans lives a South American.   For example, believe me or not, the odd combination of Pasta Bolognese with roasted Chicken bought from bakeries that have a "dog tv" (check here to know what this is) is the favourite Sunday lunch of about 8 in 10 Brazilian families in South East and South.  

Back to the Lasagna,  this recipe is my little sister's absolute favourite and this post is for her as she has been complaining that I gave her the recipe but "forgot"  adding my "secret" touch instructions.

No excuses little sister! To the kitchen now!

xx
Rachel

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Rachel's Sunday Lasagne

Serves: 8  |  Costs: $$ |  Difficulty: Medium |  Time: 1.5h 
Author: Rachel Elich

Ingredients

Filling
  • 500g Fat beef mince
  • 50g Smoked bacon chopped
  • 2 Cans italian diced tomato
  • 1 Large onion finely chopped
  • 3 Cloves of fresh crushed garlic
  • 1 Whole medium Carrot peeled
  • 1 Whole red chilli
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Cup water
  • 1/4 Cup fresh basil chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • About 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

White Sauce
  • 50g Smoked bacon chopped
  • 1/4 Onion finely dice
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1 Heaped spoon white plain flour
  • 1 Heaped spoon butter
  • 250g Cream Cheese
Assembling
  • 1/2 Cup Beef or Chicken Stock
  • 300g-500g of Lasagna Sheets
  • About 500g Shredded Mozzarela Cheese 
  • Olive oil

Instructions

Filling

  1. Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add 50g of the Bacon and cook for a few minutes
  3. Stir in the onion, bay leaves and garlic.
  4. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until onion is tender.
  5. Add mince and stir with a spoon to break it up.
  6. Continue cooking until the mince is brown, with no pink spots
  7. Add the diced tomato and the juices that come in the tin and cook it, stirring until reduced
  8. Add the whole carrot and the chilli
  9. Add the water, bring to boil and reduce the heat
  10. Stir in the Sugar
  11. Let it simmer until the carrot is cooked and sauce has thickened - don't let it dry too much
  12. Remove the bay leaves, chilli and the carrot
  13. With a fork, mash the carrots and return it to the pot.   Discard the bay leaves and the chilli.
  14. Add salt and black pepper to your taste.   If the sauce tastes to acidic, add a pinch more of sugar.
  15. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil

White Sauce

  1. Heat butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add 50g of the Bacon and cook for a few minutes
  3. Stir in the onion
  4. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until onion is tender.
  5. Stir in the Flour and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes
  6. Add 1 and 1/2 cup of the milk and stir until very thick
  7. At this point you can use a hand blender to blend the mixture or leave the bacon and onion pieces - I like blending it
  8. Add the cream cheese and stir until incorporated in the white sauce
  9. Add the rest of the milk slowly 
  10. Remove from the heat, add salt and pepper to your taste

Assembling and Baking

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C 
  2. Grease a large rectangular baking dish (about 7cm deep and 25cm wide) 
  3. Pour about 1/2 of the chicken stock in the bottom of the baking dish
  4. Arrange the pasta sheets on the top of it, breaking the sheets to fit
  5. Add a layer of the meat in tomato sauce and a layer of Mozzarella.   Top with Lasagna sheet.  Repeat until you almost fill the baking tray (leave about 1cm).
  6. Pour the rest of the chicken stop all over the lasagna before topping with the last lasagna sheet layer. 
  7. Cover the Lasagna with a thick layer of the white sauce 
  8. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of cheese
  9. Bake it for about 40min minutes until the top is slightly golden.
  10. Let it rest for about 10min before serving

Rachel Elich

Rachel Elich is a globetrotting, computer engineer, project manager, designer, untamed cook extraordinaire who backpacks around the world. Along the way on adventures, Rachel has adopted and incorporated international influences into all aspects of her creative work endeavours.

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