Rather than making a béchamel sauce, this lasagne uses layers of unadulterated cheese!
Start by making the ragu. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is starting to soften. Stir in the chilli flakes, then the beef. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly so the beef browns lightly all over; let some bits turn crispy and brown, as this will make it extra tasty.
Stir in the tomato paste, then the chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, add the thyme leaves and tear in the basil leaves. Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes, until you have a thick ragu. Stir the vinegar through.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (fan-forced). In a bowl, beat the mascarpone with the egg and season with pepper.
Find yourself a baking dish, about 6 cm (2½ inches) deep, and measuring about 18 cm x 23 cm (7 inches x 9 inches). Spoon a 1 cm (½ inch) layer of the ragu over the base of the dish.
Top with a layer of lasagne sheets — break pieces off some sheets if they don’t fit neatly in the dish. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the sheets, then cover with half the mozzarella. Scatter over some basil leaves and season with lots of pepper.
Cover with more lasagne sheets, then spoon half the remaining ragu over. Top with more lasagne sheets and the rest of the mascarpone mixture and mozzarella. Season with more pepper and scatter with the remaining basil.
Cover with a final layer of lasagne sheets and the rest of the ragu. Sprinkle with the grated parmesan.
Cover with foil, then bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 15–20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted and browned on top.
Leave to sit for about 5 minutes, before serving with a crunchy green salad or some rocket (arugula) leaves — and maybe some garlic bread if you’re feeling greedy.
Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)
Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
This recipe is from 'The Little Cheese Cookbook' by Laura Herring, published by Smith Street Books (RRP $29.99).
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