Beef lasagna with Heston’s white sauce

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I was fairly intrigued when I first read about Heston Blumenthal’s no-roux white sauce. Instead of starting with the traditional butter and flour lump and then gradually adding milk, and cheese being optional, he advises reducing white wine (significantly), adding chicken stock, then melting in cheese, coated in a couple of teaspoons of cornflour (the only flour).

It seemed just as easy as normal white sauce, with a boatload more flavour. But judge for yourself.

Beef lasagna with Heston's white sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 300 ml white wine
  • 150 ml chicken stock (warmed through)
  • 200 g mature cheese (I used cheddar)
  • Cornflour, to dust (2 tsp approx)
  • 300 g lean beef mince
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 150 g spinach
  • 12 sheets lasagna
Instructions
  1. In a small pan, reduce the wine to a concentrated 30ml.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the beef for five minutes (you shouldn't need any additional oil), then add the chopped onion, and fry for another three minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the beef, and reduce slightly, then add the spinach and wilt for a minute or two and remove from the heat.
  4. Stir the heated stock into the reduced wine, then dust the cheese (reserving a handful to sprinkle on top) with the cornflour, mixing to coat, then stir into the stock until nice and thick.
  5. Layer in a large dish - beef and tomato sauce, lasagna sheets, white sauce. I aim for as many layers as possible (it's all about the pasta!), so be sparing with the sauces, while ensuring there is enough wet for the pasta to absorb.
  6. Sprinkle on top the reserved cheese, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. The pasta should be al-dente, and have taken on the flavours of the sauce.

 

Mini crabcake pasta

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Looking around for recipes, I came across one for crabcakes, but felt in the mood for pasta – so I went for a combination of the two.

I’d rather imagined marble-sized balls of crabcake in a garlicky olive oil sauce. It didn’t quite work out like that, but was nice enough.

I served this with spinach, rocket and watercress salad, with diced tomatoes since I’d chopped too much.

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Mini crabcake pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Crabcakes
  • 100g fresh white crab meat
  • 2 large handfuls brown breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 bunch coriander (roughly chopped)
Sauce
  • 1 red onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large handful mixed spinach, watercress and rocket
To serve
  • 300g dry weight pasta (boiled)
  • 1 medium tomato (diced)
Instructions
  1. Beat eggs and mix in crab meat. Add chopped coriander (that's cilantro for our American friends. Add breadcrumbs and mix well. You don't want the mix to be too wet.
  2. Heat a little oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Make cakes with the mix in heaped teaspoon sizes. Mine didn't stay as balls, so I flipped then and fried each side until dark golden brown. Fry in batches and remove to a plate.
  3. Add a bit more oil, then fry onion and toss in the mixed leaves and garlic.
  4. Mix pasta, tomatoes, onions and leaves and most cakes, retaining a few to place on top when plated. Drizzle with any remaining oil.