Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Start by preparing the mince so it has time to simmer. In a large, heavy-based pot, sauté your chopped onions, carrots, tomatoes and celery in some olive oil and a knob of butter.
Add the mince and diced bacon; using a spatula to break up the mince, and flipping it regularly so it starts to brown on all sides.
Once the mince has started to get some colour, add in the spices, salt and pepper and stir thoroughly to combine.
When the mince is nicely browned and well-coated with the spices, add in the tin of tomato purée, stock and wine and leave to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes with the lid on.
Peel the butternut or leave the skin on for extra fibre (it also gives a lovely caramelised touch to the dish.)
Slice the butternut into matchstick width slices. Not too thin, or they will burn, but not to thick as they will stay soggy and not give the desired effect.
Lay them on a baking sheet, evenly spaced, and drizzle with olive oil and a good grind of salt and pepper.
Place them in the preheated oven for roughly 20 – 30 minutes, or until they start to caramelize and crisp up. Watch that any thinner slices don’t start to burn towards the end, remove theses slightly beforehand if necessary.
Prepare the white sauce as the mince and butternut finish cooking.
Start by putting a saucepan on medium heat and melting the butter and cream cheese, stirring with a whisk to help the cream cheese break down and melt.
Add the cream, bay leaf and peppercorns, salt, pepper and mustard and keep stirring to avoid it catching the bottom and burning.
In a mixing bowl, add the egg yolks and whisk well. Temper the eggs with a dash of the hot cheese sauce from the pan, whisking thoroughly to combine the egg yolks but without scrambling it. Add in a few more dashes of the cheese sauce, mixing again well, then pour into the main saucepan and continue to stir.
Allow it to simmer gently, while stirring regularly till it starts to reduce and thicken.
Next, add 1 cup of the grated cheese, stirring until well combined. If it’s a bit thick, then just add a dash of milk. If it’s too thin, add a knob of butter and keep stirring it on the heat to let it reduce further.
Once the sauce is done, set aside and start assembling the lasagne in a large baking dish.
Start with a thin layer of mince, then a row of butternut slices, then drizzle over a little white sauce, spreading it across the dish with the back of a spoon.
Repeat this step, aiming to end off with a final layer of white sauce on top. Sprinkle the second cup of grated cheese over the top of the dish, and finish off with a dash of paprika.
Put it into the preheated oven and bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starts to crisp up and the sauce is bubbling up through the whole dish.
Serve with a giant green salad or roasted veggies.
Recipe reprinted with permission of Jax of the Bushveld. To see more recipes, please click here.
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