My Lasagne Bolognese

I know I should already post a Christmassy recipe and pictures when Christmas is here in only 7 days. How many? 7 days? Ok, now I am panicking! It is just one week! Whee... And no snow in London! Just imagine it. Everybody on twitter writes about white fields and gardens and posts pictures of snow. And here? Nothing! Well, to be completely honest, I saw several snow flakes yesterday, but they had all melted sooner than I took out my camera! Just have a look, this is it, the London snow :)

However I am still positive about the snow in London. This is how it looked here last year in February.

I loved it and I really enjoyed it! But not everybody did. Because there were no buses, trains and tube going for almost two days! The whole city turned into a sleeping kingdom.

But let's get back to my today's post. The lasagne bolognese.

I cooked the lasagne during my "off-line period", that is to say one week without the Internet at home! Do not worry, I survived, though it was not easy! :) This was about two weeks ago. Time goes so fast! I found the photos of the lasagne yesterday, and I thought it would deserve to write a post about it because it was sooooo delicious. I ate similar lasagne when P. and I visited our friends in Finland this year. I loved it. Just two weeks later I emailed our friend, asking her for a recipe. My recipe is a combination of a classical lasagne bolognese and our friends' recipe.

My lasagne Bolognese
Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato puree
500g minced beef
100ml red wine
2x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
125g Philadelphia with garlic & herbs
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the white sauce
50g butter
50g plain flour
1l milk
200g Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 pack of lasagne sheets
2 tomatoes, sliced
40g Parmesan cheese, grated

1. In a large pan heat the olive oil, and sauté the onion, carrot and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the dried oregano, bay leaves and season with salt and freshly grated pepper. Fry the onion for another 5 minutes or until softened. Add the tomato puree and let it cook for a minute.

2. Stir in the meat, and cook until all the meat browned nicely. Add the wine, stir and let the alcohol cook off. Finally add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and mix with the Philadelphia. Discard the bay leaves.

3. For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir. Turn the heat down to absolute minimum and add a 1/4 of the milk, whisking quickly to prevent any lumps forming. If it thickens too fast, take the pan off the heat and add more milk. Add the rest of the milk gradually, whisking as you go.

4. Add the nutmeg and let it simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Finally add the grated Cheddar cheese and stir well until smooth and fully incorporated. Turn off the heat.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C.

6. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with the cheese sauce and place pasta sheets on top. Spoon the meat sauce onto the pasta and spread evenly. Now add the cheese sauce on top of the meat. Repeat until all the meat and cheese sauce is used, reserving a little cheese sauce for the last layer. Add the last layer of pasta and cover with the remaining cheese sauce. Put the sliced tomatoes on top and finished with grated Parmesan cheese.

7. Bake for 30-35 minutes.