October 18, 2013

Four Cheese Lasagne {Gluten Free}


I've got cheese on the brain. My day is surrounded by many,many cheeses. Let me explain...Recently I started a new job working on a cheese counter. I've moved from pastry chef to cheesemonger in a matter of weeks! It's very exciting.

As a chef, when I look at ingredients I see dishes. This four cheese lasagne is proof! Being surrounded by beautiful cheese five days a week-how could I not make an over the top lasagne? 

Expect to see more cheesey things on the blog!

The recipe says four cheese lasagne and four there are! Two in the lasagne and two on top. Two cheeses make up the white sauce for this recipe: ricotta and parmesan. 

Generally a white bechamél sauce is used in lasagne. Which means, butter and flour are cooked together in a pot to make a roux, to which milk is slowly added and simmered until thickened. 

The other two cheeses in the recipe are cheddar and mozzarella. Once the lasagne is layered and ready for baking, these cheeses are sprinkled on top...with a little thyme for extra flavour. 

As the lasagne bakes the cheeses melt and as the lasagne further bakes the cheeses create a lovely crispy crust around the outside of the dish. Heaven. 

Oh! The fact that the 'white sauce' is cheese based and not flour based this is a perfect lasagne for people on a gluten free diet...just make sure to use gluten free lasagne sheets!

As the lasagne is baking, keep an eye on it,the dish may have to be rotated. WE DON'T WANT BURNT CHEESE!


Holly, x

Begin by browning the minced beef and steak in a frying pan with a little water.

Once the beef is cooked, drain off the excess water and fat and transfer the meat to a bowl. 

Set the meat aside and finely dice the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and strip the thyme leaves from the stalk.

Wipe out the pan you cooked the meat in and heat two tablespoons of olive oil. 

Over a medium heat, sauté the onion, celery and carrot for 7-10 minutes. Stir in the chopped garlic and thyme and cook for another minute. 

Turn the heat to high, pour in the wine and allow the liquid to bubble and reduce by half. 

Stir in the tomato paste until fully incorporated...

Pour in the tinned tomatoes, the stock and the basil stalks.

Reduce the heat and simmer the meat sauce for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

As the meat sauce is cooking get on with the ricotta white sauce. Simple, simple simple. Stir together ricotta, fromage frais, grated parmesan, salt and pepper. 

If the white sauce is too thick...thin it with a few tablespoons of milk. It should be the consistency of yoghurt..not too thick, not too thin!

To build the lasagne you'll need your meat sauce, the ricotta white sauce, lasagne sheets, red cheddar, mozzarella and more fresh thyme. 

Build your lasagne, then top with cheesy goodness and a fresh thyme. Lasagne 'building' instructions in the recipe below!

Recipe, Serves 6-8, easily halved.

450g Minced Pork
450g Minced Steak
1 Medium Onion
2 Medium Carrots
2 Sticks Celery
6 Garlic Cloves
3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
100ml Chianti Wine, or any other red wine
2 Heaped Tablespoons Tomato Purée
1 x 400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
300ml Beef Stock
2 Sprigs Fresh Basil
Salt and Pepper

Ricotta White Sauce

500g Ricotta
3 Tablespoon Fromage Frais
100g Finely Grated Parmesan
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
4-6 Tablespoon Milk


Lasagne Sheets
150g Red Cheddar, grated
125g Mozzarella, broken into small pieces
1-2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

Place the minced steak and pork in a frying pan, with a little water and cook over a medium heat.
Drain off the excess fat and water and tip the cooked mince into a bowl.
Wipe out the pan.
Finely dice the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and strip the thyme leaves from the stalk.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the wiped out frying pan and sweat the onion, celery and carrot over a medium heat for 7-10 minutes with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Stir in the thyme and garlic and cook for a further minute.
Turn up the heat to high and carefully pour in the wine.
Allow the wine to bubble and reduce by half.
Stir in the tomato purée until fully incorporated.
Pour in the tin of tomatoes, the stock and the basil stalks.
Simmer, over a low to medium heat for 20-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
The meat sauce should be thick and not overly dry. 
Taste for seasoning.

For the ricotta white sauce, mix the ricotta, the fromage frais, the grated parmesan, salt and pepper together. 
If the white sauce is too thick, thin it with a few tablespoons of milk.

Preheat the oven to 190C and place a rack in the centre of the oven. 
To build the lasagne lightly grease the base and sides of a 10x6 inch baking dish.
Start with a layer of meat sauce and cover with a single layer of lasagne sheets.
Another layer of meat sauce, a third of the ricotta white sauce and another single layer of lasagne sheets.
Repeat the process finishing with a layer of meat sauce followed by a layer of ricotta white sauce on top. 
Sprinkle over the grated red cheddar, the small pieces of torn mozzarella and the thyme leaves.
Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake at 190C for 35-40 minutes or until the pasta is cooked and the cheese is bubbly and delicious.
Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. 

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