optional: 2 tablespoons crushed red chillies or to
In a heavy based saucepan, large enough to contain
the mince beef and sauce, add three tablespoons of vegetable oil. Allow
to heat up over medium to high setting. Add the chopped onions and the
crushed garlic. Allow the finely chopped onions to become transparent,
then add the mince beef. Stir the finely crushed garlic and finely
chopped onions with the minced beef until well mixed. Allow the minced
beef to brown and stir at intervals to prevent from burning, especially
at the bottom of the pan surface. If the minced beef releases a lot of
fat or liquid, you can skim it off.
Place the lasagna sheets in hot water
to soften in a flat baking tray. Stagger the way you placed the sheets
on top of each other to make them easy to remove later.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato
paste and one cup of hot water to the cooked minced beef. Mix well until
the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste is well distributed within the
minced beef. Allow to simmer for two minutes.
Add the sugar or honey, chopped basil
and half the parsley leaves, dry sherry, fennel seeds, salt and pepper
to taste. Optional: you can also add finely crushed or chopped red
chillies to taste. Mix well the ingredients with the minced beef and
tomato mixture. Cover and allow to simmer for one hour over medium to
low heat. Stir at intervals to make sure that the minced beef or sauce
does not stick to the pan or burn. Adjust the sauce with little
quantities of hot water if necessary to maintain consistency if the
mixture dries up. When the sauce is well blended with the tomato sauce
well cooked, remove from heat.
Meanwhile, place the ricotta cheese
in a large bowl, add 2 eggs, half teaspoon grated nutmeg and the
remaining finely chopped parsley leaves. Mix well together with a large
spoon until uniformly blended. Put aside.
In a 25cm by 35cm baking pan or
similar, spread a layer of meat sauce at the bottom. Use not more than a
third of the meat sauce. Remove lasagna sheets from water one by one,
allow the water to drip off and place one layer on top of the meat
sauce. Spread a little less than half the ricotta cheese mixture over
the lasagna layer. Spread a little less than half of the mozzarella
cheese uniformly over the ricotta layer. Sprinkle with half the parmesan
Spread half of the remaining meat
sauce over the cheese layer. Place another layer of lasagna sheets.
Spread the remaining ricotta cheese mixture over the lasagna sheets.
Spread the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses as before, except
save some (about a third) of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses for use
Spread the remaining meat sauce over
the cheese layer. Finish off by sprinkling the mozzarella cheese over
the meat sauce, followed by the parmesan cheese
Cover with aluminium foil and place
in oven preheated at 180 degrees Centigrade. Allow to bake for 25
minutes. Remove aluminium cover and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. If
the top layer of cheese does not attain a golden brown colour, place
under grill but watch closely and remove when a golden brown colour is
attained. Be careful not to burn the cheese.
Allow the lasagna to settle down for 5 to 10
minutes. Cut into portions with a sharp knife in the tray. Carefully
remove with a flat spatulla.
Enjoy with a green salad, seasoned with vinegar,
finely chopped onions, salt and pepper to taste.
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