Here’s my mum’s recipe for lasagne, using cottage cheese instead of béchamel. I think it’s still the best I’ve tasted.
oil, to fry
450g/1lb lean beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
1 green pepper, seeds removed, finely chopped
150g/5oz St George mushrooms, sliced
200g/7oz tomato purée
2 bay leaves
2 x 400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried thyme, parsley and oregano
salt and freshly ground pepper
300g/10oz dried pasta sheets
300g/10oz cottage cheese
150g/5oz grated mature Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease a 25cm/10in x 20cm/8in baking dish.
Heat a dash of oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. Fry the mince until browned all over. Remove the mince from the pan.
Add another dash of oil to the pan over a medium heat. Gently fry the onion, peppers and mushrooms until soft.
Add the mince back into the pan together with the tomato purée and bay leaves. Cook for a further five minutes.
Add the tomatoes and herbs, and bring to the mixture to the boil. Simmer for at least 30 minutes and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lastly, remove the bay leaves.
Line the base of the baking dish with pasta and cover with about one-third of the mince mixture. Place teaspoonful amounts of cottage cheese across the mince, in order to use up one-third of the cheese.
Repeat Step 6 7 two further times and finally cover the lasagne with the grated Cheddar. Bake in the over for 45 minutes to one hour, or until golden-brown and bubbling on top.
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