Make and freeze lasagne
Make up 20 portions of lasagne to freeze and have a ready-made meal whenever you need it. This is one serious lasagne – made with pork rib ragù, homemade pasta sheets and drizzled with basil oil.
Equipment and preparation: you will need 20 x small, foil, takeaway style tray containers with lids (12x9.5x3.5cm/4½x3¾x1¼in) and a pasta machine.
For the pasta
- 1kg/2lb 4oz ‘00’ pasta flour, plus extra flour for dusting
- 10 free-range eggs
For the ragù
- about 5 tbsp olive oil
- 6 onions, very finely chopped
- 8 carrots, very finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2kg/4lb 8oz beef mince
- 1kg/2lb 4oz pork ribs
- 2 litres/3½ pints beef stock
- 4 x 400g/14oz tins chopped tomatoes
- handful fresh oregano
- few bay leaves
For the cheese sauce
For the basil oil
- 300g/10½oz breadcrumbs
For the pasta, put the flour into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the middle and crack the eggs into it. Bring together with a wooden spoon until it combines into one mass.
Knead on a floured surface for a good ten minutes, or until the dough is smooth and glossy all over and there are no dry or damp patches.
Cut a piece of dough off, roughly the size of an egg and keep the remaining dough under a slightly damp cloth.
Feed the piece of dough through a pasta machine on the largest setting. There are nine settings going from thick to very fine, so repeat the process nine times gradually decreasing the setting. Hang the sheets of pasta – a clothes horse works well for this.
Repeat this process until you have converted all your dough into sheets
Leave to dry for two hours – the sheets will be firm but slightly bendy.
Use the base of the foil trays as a template and cut the pasta into rectangles to fit the tray. You should cut about 60 in total.
For the ragù, heat five tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat.
Fry the onions, carrots and garlic until golden-brown and then transfer to a large stock pot.
In the same pan, brown the mince in batches adding the browned meat to the pot as you go.
Cut the ribs into manageable sizes and then brown them in the pan with a little more oil if necessary. Transfer the ribs to the pot.
Deglaze the pan with a little beef stock and add to the pot.
Finally add the tinned tomatoes, the remaining stock and the oregano and bay leaves.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for two hours
Slide the meat easily off the rib bones with set of tongs and a fork. Discard the bones.
For the cheese sauce, put the double cream, mustard and 200g/7oz of grated cheddar in a pan. Allow to melt for five minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
For the basil oil, process the oil and the basil in a food processor and reserve.
To assemble the lasagne, place a small ladleful of the ragù (about three heaped tablespoons) into the base of each foil tray. Place a sheet of pasta on top. Brush the pasta sheet with basil oil.
Add another ladleful of ragù and a second pasta sheet and brush again with oil. Add a third ladleful of ragù and place one more pasta sheet on top.
Pour over a ladleful of cheese sauce.
Scatter over a small handful of the remaining grated cheese, then a small handful of breadcrumbs. Finish with a little drizzle of basil oil.
To cook straightaway, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and cook for 25 minutes.
To prepare the lasagne for freezing, allow to cool, cover each portion with the lid and then freeze. They will keep for up to one month.
To cook from frozen, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, but cook for one hour.
If you do not have a large enough pot, the ragù recipe is happy in a few smaller ones.