So apparently it is courgette week this week (who would’ve thought it!), so I have decided to make a lasagne for the family, but with a bit of a twist. It won’t be too shocking to hear that I have added some grated courgette in the sauce, which adds a lovely sweetness, but rather than use traditional beef mince, I have decided to opt for Beef Shin. If you have never used it before, I really do suggest you give it a go. Like all cheaper cuts of meat, it needs to be cooked on a low heat, for a good few hours – but trust me it is well worth the effort. In the end, you will be left with beautifully tender pieces of meat, packed full of flavour – great for any lasagne!
650 grams beef shin, on the bone
1 white onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
½ red pepper, finely diced
1 medium courgette, grated
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cans chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to season
9 fresh lasagne sheets
500 mls full fat milk
50 grams unsalted butter
50 grams plain flour
100 grams grated parmesan
50 grams grated gruyere or pecorino
Salt and pepper, to season
Preheat the oven to 180C. To start, grab a medium size pot, set over a medium heat, add the olive oil and beef shin. Brown the beef shin, remove from the pot, and set aside on a plate. Next add the onion, carrot, red pepper and courgette – you may need to add a touch more oil to the pot. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until soft. If you want to help the vegetables soften, add just a touch of salt.
Place the beef shin, and its juices, back into the pot. Give this all a good stir, and add the chopped tomatoes. Set this over a low-medium heat, you just want it to slowly simmer away. Cover the pot with a lid, and leave to cook for at least 2-2 ½ hours. Keep checking on it every hour or so, to make sure there is plenty of liquid. If not, just add a touch of hot water.
You know the meat is cooked, when it easily falls off the bone.
Next, make the béchamel sauce. Grab a medium saucepan/small pot, and add the butter. Place this on a medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the plain flour. You want this to essentially become a paste. Cook the flour and butter mix, for about 2-3 minutes. Next gradually add your milk, stirring continuously as you do so. Once all the milk has been added, keep stirring the sauce until it starts to thicken – it’s this constant stirring that will help stop lumps forming. Once you have a nice thick sauce, remove the pot from the heat and add the cheese. Stir this in, until melted, and season with salt and pepper.
Now it’s time to layer your lasagne! Grab a square, oven proof dish and slather a touch of oil on the base and sides. Place enough meat sauce in the dish to cover the bottom entirely, add the lasagne sheets, enough to cover the meat sauce, next add the béchamel sauce, the meat sauce, lasagne sheets, meat sauce, béchamel sauce, lasagne sheets, and finally finish with the rest of the béchamel sauce. Basically you want to 3 portions of each filling – meat sauce and béchamel sauce.
Finish the top of the lasagne with some salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of grated parmesan. Place the dish in a preheated oven, and bake for 35-45 minutes. If the lasagne browns too quickly, cover with foil, and continue cooking. And that is it – you’re done!