This version of the Italian dish, lasagne ai funghi e tartufo, has been simplified, rather than anglicised. It’s an incredibly useful, and easy recipe. It looks as if it has lots of ingredients (it does, but they are all easy to find), and many steps, but they are all quick – add this, add that.

It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and it will also freeze well. Pour in a little cream when you reheat.

Serve with a light salad of fennel and watercress.

If you want a real treat pair this with a 20+ year old Barolo…or a Burgundy. Both of these have a sort of earthy quality which goes swimmingly with the truffle, and the tannins cut through the rich meat.

 

Recipe for truffled beef and mushroom lasagne

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 30g/1oz dried porcini
  • 1 onion
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • ½ carrot
  • a little sage and rosemary
  • 200g/7 oz mushrooms
  • 500g/18 oz good quality, not too much fat, minced beef
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed with 1 tsp salt
  • 120ml/½ cup red vermouth
  • 500g/18 oz passata – Waitrose Duchy is a good one
  • 180 ml/¾ cup beef stock made with one stock cube… Oxo will do
  • 50g/2 oz/one-fifth of a brick of butter
  • 6 tbsps plain flour
  • 600 ml/2½ cups milk
  • 60 ml/¼ cup/4 tbsps double cream
  • 300-350 g/10-12 oz lasagne sheets
  • 50g/2 oz grated parmesan
  • 2 tsps truffle oil – good quality – the type that’s seen a truffle
  • smoked salt and generous grinds of Indonesian long black pepper
  • olive oil for frying

Method

  1. Soak the porcini in some of the milk for half an hour and drain – reserving the milk.
  2. In a hob-proof casserole (a Dutch oven – ideally a Staub) heat some oil.
  3. Peel and chop the onion and add to the oil, fry gently.
  4. Peel/scrape the carrot, slice thinly and add.
  5. Destring and chop the celery, add.
  6. Add the sage and rosemary.
  7. Prepare your mushrooms, cleaning, peeling if necessary, and chopping roughly. When the onion has become translucent – add.
  8. Chop any large porcini, and add the porcini to the rest.
  9. Add the garlic. Stir in. Grind in a generous amount of pepper.
  10. Add the mince, fry to get it browned and cooked through.
  11. Add the red vermouth.
  12. Bring to the boil and simmer (use the aga simmering oven) for an hour, uncovered. Stir every now and then. The sauce should have thickened up by the end of this.
  13. Someway into the cooking, preheat your oven to 210°C.
  14. Meanwhile make your béchamel – in a medium saucepan melt the butter and add the flour. Stir well to make a paste and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
  15. Stir in the milk, including the milk drained from the mushrooms, slowly, making sure that no lumps form.
  16. Once the sauce has thickened up, stir in the cream and the truffle oil. If it still looks a bit too thick add a little more milk.
  17. In your lasagne dish (usually a shallow, ceramic, rectangular dish, or it could be a roasting tin). Spread some of the meat sauce thinly over the bottom.
  18. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets. Then another layer of meat sauce. Then some of the béchamel and sprinkle over half the Parmesan. Repeat the whole process.
  19. Bake 40 minutes until golden brown, and then serve.

 

 

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