250g(3 cups) cooked puy lentilsyou can use green or brown canned lentils if you prefer
½teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
For The Bechamel Sauce
60g( ½ a stick + 1 tsp) of butter
60g(just under ½ a cup) of plain flour (all-purpose flour)
450ml(2 cups of ) milkI use semi-skimmed milk
⅛teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
¼teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
For The Lasagne
250gfresh egg lasagne sheetsI used 6 large sheets
150g( 1 x 5oz ) ball of fresh mozzarellagrated
90g(¾ of a cup) mature (sharp) cheddar cheesegrated
25g(¼ a cup) of Pecorino cheese (vegetarian hard Italian cheese)finely grated
To Make The Ragu
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan.Add the onion, carrot and celery along with a pinch of salt.Cook over medium to low heat for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
Once the onion mixture is soft add the garlic, a small pinch of fennel seeds (if using) 2 teaspoons of dried oregano and 1 level teaspoon of dried parsley. Stir the garlic and herbs into the onion mixture and cook for a minute.Now, add all the mushrooms along with a tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are soft and have released their juices. Stir the mushrooms often to make sure they are evenly cooked.Next pour in two cans of chopped tomatoes and stir well.Stir in two tablespoons of tomato puree and half a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
Next pour in the stock, add the lentils to the pan and stir everything together.Stir in half a tablespoon of Henderson's Relish and half a teaspoon of light soy sauce.Season with salt and pepper then drop two bay leaves into the stock.Reduce the heat and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes. Stir regularly to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
To Make The Bechamel Sauce
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour then stir until you have a smooth paste-like consistency.Slowly pour in some of the milk stirring all the time.Continue adding the milk until it has all been incorporated and you have a smooth thick sauce.Stir in the salt and pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg.Set aside until you are ready to use it.
To Make The Lasagne
Spread a small amount of the ragu on the base of your casserole dish.Place lasagne sheets over the ragu, to cover the sauce but not overlap too much.Spread half the ragu over the lasagne sheets.Sprinkle some grated cheese over the ragu. Then pour some of the bechamel sauce over the cheese. Top with lasagne sheets.Repeat for another layer.
Finish the lasagne with a layer of lasagne sheets. Pour the remaining bechamel sauce over the pasta., Grate the mozzarella, pecorino and remaining cheddar over the bechamel.Bake in the oven at 170°C (335°F) Fan, 190°C (375°F) conventional oven, uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the casserole dish once halfway through cooking.
Once the top of the lasagne is golden and bubbling remove it from the oven and leave it to cool slightly before serving.
Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is approximate. It is based on one serving of 6.
Casserole Dish - my dish measured in at 18 x 27 cm and 6cm deep (11 x 7 inches and was 2 and a half inches deep).
Freezing /Storing - any leftovers can be stored in the fridge once cooled then reheated until piping hot. They should be used within 3 days. I freeze this in individual portions stored in freezer bags, they should be defrosted overnight before being reheated until piping hot. Use within 3 months.
Henderson's Relish - this is a relish found mostly in the UK. If you can't find this then vegetarian Worcestershire sauce will work instead.
Lasagne sheets - I used fresh egg lasagne sheets, you can use dried pasta if you want, I would cook them first though.
Lentils - I use shop-bought pre-cooked puy lentils. You can use canned lentils if you prefer.
Dairy - all dairy is full-fat except for the milk which is semi-skimmed.
Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients, using a digital scale, if possible for best results.