Healthy Lasagne

This classic Italian dish has been given an exciting, healthy twist. By swapping the pasta for courgettes, this lovely layered lasagne can be enjoyed as a lighter meal, that’s just as delicious.

500g (1lb) lean minced beef
2 onions, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, trimmed
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 large carrots, peeled, grated
150ml (1/4 pint) red wine
400g (13oz) x tin chopped tomatoes
400ml (14fl oz) hot beef stock
3 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
550ml (17fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
3 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 whole nutmeg, freshly grated
2 large courgettes, very thinly sliced lengthways (approx. 2-3mm thick)
4 vine tomatoes, sliced
40g (1 1/2oz) vintage Cheddar, coarsely grated
20g (3/4oz) Parmesan, finely grated
Green salad or greens, to serve

Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Heat a large non-stick heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the mince, season well and fry over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until golden brown. Add half the chopped onions and the celery and season. Fry over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Add the grated carrots and red wine and bubble for 3-4 minutes.
Then add the tinned tomatoes, stock, and one of the bay leaves and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid, turn down the heat to medium-low and leave to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and simmer for another 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.

While the mince is cooking, put the rest of the onion in a saucepan with the remaining bay leaves, peppercorns and the milk (reserving 3 tablespoons) and place over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave the milk to infuse for 10 minutes. Drain through a sieve and discard the bay leaf, onion and peppercorns.

Put the cornflour in a small bowl, add the reserved milk and whisk to a thick paste. Add to the infused milk, place over a low heat and simmer, stirring frequently for 5 minutes or until thickened. Add the mustard and grated nutmeg and season well, adding a little more milk if the sauce is too thick.

Blanch the courgette slices in a large pan of boiling salted water for 1 minute, remove from the boiling water with tongs and drain well on kitchen paper. (It’s important to get rid of as much water as possible at this stage or the lasagne will be very watery.)

Spoon half of the mince mixture into a lasagne dish. Top with an even layer of blanched courgettes, then season well. Repeat with the rest of the mince and finish with the rest of the courgettes. Pour the white sauce over the top and place the sliced tomatoes in lines on the top. Mix the Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden-brown and bubbling.
Divide between 6 plates and serve with green salad or greens.

Recipe courtesy of Tesco 
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