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Recipe of the Day: Healthiest-Ever Lasagna

We all love Italian food; what we might not love is how guilty we feel after indulging in a less-than-healthy dinner. This recipe from The Secret Ingredient is equally delicious without the downside.

Serves: 4

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 carrots, scrubbed but skin on and finely chopped (if you use organic, you can leave the skin on; if your carrots are not organic, I suggest you peel them)
2 organic celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
12oz lean minced (ground) steak or turkey mince (ground turkey)
5 1/2 oz chopped mushrooms, chopped
1 1/4 cups beef or chicken stock
2/3 cup red wine or extra stock
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
1 tbsp dried oregano or mixed herbs
Freshly ground black pepper
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
10 -12 sheets dried no-pre-cook lasagna
1 1/2 oz mature low fat cheddar cheese
For the sauce:
3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 1/2 cups semi-skimmed (low-fat) milk
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1.) Heat the oil in a large, lidded saucepan over a low heat. Add the onion and fry gently for 5minutes. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and cook for a further 5minutes, or until the onion is soft and just beginning to color.
2.) Turn up the heat a little, then add the beef or turkey and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and crumbly. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1moreminute, then drain off any fat from the meat.
3.) Stir in the stock, wine or extra stock, tomatoes, tomato puree (paste) and dried herbs. Bring to the boil, then cover and gently simmer over a low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley and season with black pepper to taste.
4.) Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
5.) To make the sauce mix the corn flour (cornstarch) in a small bowl or cup to a smooth paste with a little of the milk .Add more milk until all the corn flour (cornstarch) has been dissolved and it is a runny consistency. Now put the cornflour (cornstarch) mixture along with the remaining milk into a medium-sized saucepan. Over a medium heat, bring to the boil while stirring continuously. Simmer for 2 minutes and stir in the nutmeg. The sauce should have thickened to a custard consistency. Take off the heat.
6.) Spoon half the meat sauce over the base of a 2 1//4 quart ovenproof dish or roasting tin. Cover with a layer of lasagna, then spoon over the remaining meat sauce and cover with another layer of pasta.
7.) Pour over the white sauce to cover the lasagna completely. Scatter over the grated cheese.
8.) Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbling and the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and leave to settle for 10 minutes before serving. Accompany with a lovely big salad.

From The Secret Ingredient by Sally Bee, copyright 2010 Sterling Publishing Co.

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-- Amanda Chamberlain

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