Lasagne ideas for a tasty alternative to Findus

Across the country, thousands of Britons have peered into the misty recesses of their freezers and realised they have rather a lot of Findus frozen beef lasagne which suddenly seems a lot less appetising. One positive aspect of the whole horse meat saga may be that it encourages people to rely less on processed ready meals and go back to making their own, where it is easier to vet (no pun intended) exactly what goes into the recipe.

Home-made lasagne is a superb freezer fallback evening meal, and it is not quite the labour-intensive dish that many think. The key is to make it in large batches and freeze the surplus. It’s a rich and filling dish so a little goes a long way.

The beef and béchamel combination is the classic, with the tomato and meat ragu blending superbly with the comfort-food blandness of the white sauce. Some chefs suggest adding a little bacon or pancetta to the meat ragu for flavour and texture.

The veggie option

Ring the changes with a few variants on the traditional meat lasagne. Vegetarian lasagne is a pub grub cliche, but resist the temptation to throw in a whole bunch of mixed veg. Instead look for combinations that work.

Spinach and ricotta is a classic double act. If you find the texture a little too smooth, liven things up with chopped walnuts and add a little grated nutmeg which complements the spinach perfectly.

Mushroom lasagne needs a little thought as the fungi don’t always mix too well with cheese or tomato. Instead, combine their earthy flavours with a sharp, sweet caramelised onion layer, with maybe some chopped pine nuts.

Home-made fresh pasta is perfect for lasagne, but if that’s a little too much like hard work, dried is fine. You can soak the sheets in hot water (with a drop of olive oil so they don’t cling together) to make them pliable or you can follow Mary Berry’s tip and just make your sauces a little sloppy so that the liquid will soak into the pasta and soften it during the baking process.

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