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Monday, July 6, 2015

Guy Grossi’s Mammas "Tweaked" Classic Italian Lasagne

Well my mam brought me a new lasagne dish as she knew that I had sadly broken my extra-large good ol’ favourite one that I had used for many years. Needless to say my first night home cooking after a massive week away and it only seemed sensible to make a lasagne… not just our normal lasagne but I thought I would try one of Melbourne’s famous chef’s recipes. Guy Grossi, is a leading Australian chef, presenter and media personality. He owns and is head chef of 3 restaurants here in Melbourne - Grossi Florentino, Grossi Trattoria and Merchant Osteria Veneta.

Guy Grossi shared his mum's recipe for a classic Italian lasagne on SBS Food Safari, which is where I happily found the recipe. The aromas coming from the kitchen during the preparation of the Sugo Bolognese and then the cooking in the oven were just amazing – the fresh herbs filling the air and tantalising ones senses made cooking this recipe a simple pleasure.  Obviously I tweaked the recipe a little to lower the fat content and make it a little more waist friendly without changing the flavours or the recipe too much.

Once cooked the flavours made my taste buds dance, enjoying every mouthful. With layers of fresh pasta, bolognese and bechamel sauce, it was definitely a hit around our table and makes it's no wonder diners in his Melbourne restaurants keep coming back for flavours like this!

Guy Grossi’s Mammas "Tweaked" Classic Italian Lasagne
(Recipe adapted from Food Safari)

Serves: 10
ProPoints per serve: 14

Sugo Bolognese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
4 cloves, ground
a little freshly grated nutmeg
800 grams minced beef
100 grams minced pork
100 grams minced chicken
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped sage
handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
2 bay leaves
handful of basil leaves, crushed to a paste with a little olive oil
200 grams tomato paste
200 mls red wine
2 litres chicken or veal stock, or water
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 carrots, finely grated
3 zucchinis, finely grated

Besciamella (béchamel sauce)
80 grams Weight Watchers Canola Spread
80 grams plain flour
1 litre skim milk
½ small onion, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 clove
a little freshly grated nutmeg
sea salt
ground white pepper

500 grams fresh lasagne sheets for 6 or more layers
250 grams parmigiano reggiano, grated

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, chilli, ground cloves and nutmeg for 4-5 minutes, until soft and lightly caramelized.

Add the meat and continue to cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the herbs, including the basil paste, and continue to stir until the meat is well browned and broken up finely (about another 5 minutes).

Add the tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Pour in the wine and boil to reduce by half.

Add the stock or water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding more water if required.  Add carrots and zucchini.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-4 minutes, taking care not to let the paste colour. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Put the milk, onion, bay leaf, clove and nutmeg in another saucepan and heat gently until simmering. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

Strain the warm milk onto the cooled paste and whisk together. Bring to the boil, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Ladle a small amount of sugo into a large baking dish and cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Ladle more sugo over the sheets and drizzle over some besciamella, then sprinkle some of the grated parmigiano reggiano. Continue to layer in this way until you reach the top of the dish (aim for at least 6 layers of lasagne). Add the grated cheese every second layer. Finish with a layer of cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through and cheese is golden.

Serve with a little extra sugo and more parmigiano reggiano if desired.