Cherry tomato lasagne

Adam Liaw
Cherry tomato lasagne with easy bechamel.
Cherry tomato lasagne with easy bechamel. Photo: William Meppem

Making a lasagne is a true joy. If it's a while since you made one, maybe it's time to go again?

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large brown onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

500g beef mince

500g pork mince

800g tinned cherry tomatoes or tomato passata

2 tsp salt, plus extra for the pasta

1 tsp sugar

2 bay leaves

½ cup white wine

400g instant lasagne sheets

1 cup grated tasty cheese

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup mixed cherry tomatoes

½ cup loosely packed basil leaves

Easy bechamel

150g butter

¾ cup flour

1½ litres milk

Method

1. Heat a heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the oil, onion and carrot. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, then add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the beef and pork mince and fry for a few minutes until lightly browned. Add the tinned cherry tomatoes or passata, salt, sugar, bay leaves and wine (you can use water, if you prefer). Simmer, covered, for about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.

2. For the bechamel, heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the flour. Fry the flour for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the flour is cooked but not yet browned. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring well between additions to remove any lumps. Season with salt. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and season with salt. Cook the lasagne sheets for 5 minutes until slightly softened. Heat your oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional).

3. Spread a little meat sauce in the base of a 25cm x 35cm baking dish and place a layer of pasta on top. Add another layer of meat sauce, then a layer of bechamel and a layer of pasta. Repeat layers of meat sauce, bechamel and pasta (you don't need to use all the meat sauce – save any leftovers).

4. After the final layer of pasta, top with the remaining bechamel and scatter with the cheeses. Pour ½ cup of water into the dish around the edges of the lasagne. Place a toothpick upright in the centre of the lasagne and cover the dish with foil – the toothpick's job is to stop the foil from sticking to the cheese.

5. Bake for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, switch the oven to the grill setting. Remove the foil, press the mixed cherry tomatoes into the top of the lasagne and grill for 10 minutes until the tomatoes are blistered and the cheese browned. Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes, scatter with basil leaves and serve.

Adam's tip For any oven-baked pasta dish ("al forno"), adding half a cup of water to the dish will stop the pasta from drying out too much.