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This is a variation on classic lasagne which uses low-fat ingredients and cooking methods to provide a healthier alternative without losing any of the flavour. Be less generous with the Parmesan, or use low-fat cheese instead.
What you need: For the meat sauce: 450g/1 lb lean minced beef 1 large onion, finely chopped 5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 stick celery, finely chopped 1 large carrot, finely chopped 375ml/13 fl oz beef/chicken stock 400g/2 x 14 oz cans chopped tomatoes 1 teaspoon dried oregano/mixed herbs 1 bay leaf ½ teaspoon dried nutmeg 1 tablespoon tomato puree 100ml/4 fl oz water A little salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Low-Fat White Sauce: 600ml/1 pint low-fat milk 1 small onion, peeled and studded with 3 whole cloves 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons cornflour 3 tablespoons cold low-fat milk 1 teaspoon mustard of your choice A little grated Parmesan/low-fat cheese 9-12 lasagne sheets
What you do:
To make the meat sauce, heat a heavy-based casserole over a moderate heat, add the minced beef and break it down with a wooden spoon. Keep moving the mince around until the meat is lightly browned. Drain off all excess fat, then add the chopped onion, garlic, celery, carrot and cook gently stirring until the vegetables are softening. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cook stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the chopped tomato, oregano, bay leaf, nutmeg, tomato puree and water. Season and stir well, then simmer very gently for about an hour until a thick sauce is produced, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if the mixture seems to be drying out.
To make the low-fat white sauce: in a saucepan, rinsed with cold water, gently heat the milk, the clove studded onion and the bay leaf. Slowly bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave for 15 minutes. Strain.
Blend together the cornflour and 3 tablespoons of cold milk, then gradually add the remaining milk mixture. Return to the rinsed pan and cook over a moderate heat, stirring all the time to make a smooth sauce. Simmer over a low heat for 1 minute. Add mustard and extra milk if necessary. To assemble and cook the lasagne, pre-heat a moderate oven 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4. Lightly oil a large shallow ovenproof dish. Spread a thin layer of the meat sauce over the dish. Arrange a single layer of pasta sheets over the sauce. Top this with another layer of meat, then a layer of low-fat white sauce and a light sprinkling of low-fat cheese. Repeat layers as before, finishing with a layer of pasta, reserving some of the low-fat white sauce to top the pasta. Sprinkle lightly with cheese and cook in the pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. Serve with a crisp green salad with low-fat dressing and garlic bread
Recipe by Georgina Campbell, Taken from Go for Low Fat Healthy Eating magazine, 1999, Health Promotion Unit.