Autumn is a time when many people are looking for something hearty and filling for dinner to enjoy, and this delicious lasagna recipe is perfect to enjoy during the colder and rainier weather.
This time of year is perfect for making a rich beef stew or a comforting chicken pie, but there is nothing better than crispy and cheesy lasagna, and one chef has revealed he was an “autumn twist” to this recipe for anyone who loves this pasta dish.
Chef John Watts, learned how to cook under celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and enjoys sharing his skills on social media through his TikTok account @jonwatts88 or through his skills as a cookbook writer as he teaches “deliciously simple recipes to inspire home cooks.”
John’s secret to making the perfect autumn lasagna is adding a layer of butternut squash to the bake, which he said pairs perfectly with the cheesy béchemel and the richer and meatier bolognese ragu sauce.
In an interview with the Express, John said: “Lasagne is one of the world’s favourite comfort foods all year round. It goes perfectly with a salad in the summer but equally is a warm and comforting dish in the winter. Adding the autumnal butternut squash makes this the perfect dish to make this Autumn.”
How to make autumn lasagna
To make the bolognese ragu sauce:
- 750g of minced beef
- 300g of minced pork
- 400ml of red wine
- Three tins of chopped tomatoes (400g each)
- 200ml of beef stock
- Three diced celery sticks
- Two peeled and diced carrots
- Four minced garlic cloves
- One bunch of fresh rosemary
- Three bay leaves
To make the béchemel cheese sauce:
- 80g grated cheddar cheese
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 1 litre of whole milk
- Teaspoon of nutmeg
To make the lasagna pasta:
- Lasagna pasta sheets
- 100g of grated parmesan
- 250 grated cheddar cheese
- One butternut squash diced into chunks
- Large saucepan
- Large frying pan
- Roasting tray
- Two other saucepans
- Large roasting tray
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To begin, preheat the oven to 190C.
In order to make the bolognese sauce, heat oil in a saucepan and then add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook on medium heat for around ten minutes until the vegetables have softened. Next, add the rosemary and garlic and fry for another two minutes.
While the vegetables are cooking, take a separate frying pan and fry both the minced beef and pork on high heat. Cook until all the juices have evaporated from the pan and the meat has browned.
Once the meat is fully cooked, add the red wine and continue cooking until the red wine has reduced by half. Add the beef, pork and red wine to the saucepan with the vegetables.
Next, add the beef stock, tinned chopped tomatoes and bay leaves to the saucepan.
Give the sauce a good stir, and now let it simmer for a couple of hours so that the meat comes out tender and flavourful. Cook on low-medium heat for at least two hours or for a maximum of four hours.
It is now time to cook the butternut squash. Add it diced to a roasting tray and drizzle on some olive oil. Cook in the oven for around 30 minutes until fully roasted, and once cooked set it aside to cool.
You can now get the béchemel cheese sauce ready. Warm milk in a saucepan and in a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the flour and mix well for around two minutes.
Slowly add your milk a ladle at a time to your flour-butter mixture. Mix well until a smooth sauce, and continue until all the milk has been added.
Add the grated cheese to the mixture until melted, and then add the nutmeg. Mic well and then take off the heat and set aside for now.
Cook the pasta sheets by boiling them in salted water for a few minutes and following the instructions on the package.
Now, you can layer your pasta. In a large roasting tray, spook some of your bolognese ragu sauce first, then spoon over some of your cheesy béchemel followed by a third layer of roasted butternut squash. Next, add a pasta sheet and keep repeating the layers until at the top of the roasting tray, which should be around three layers.
Once at the top of the lasagna, pour over any remaining cheesy béchemel on top of the final pasta layer, which should cover the entire top layer.
Sprinkle grated parmesan and cheddar cheese on top and cook in the oven for around 40 minutes, or until crispy, golden and bubbling with cheese on top.
Once out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes to cool and your cheesy lasagna is now ready.
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