Primal Lasagne

Primal Lasagne If there's an envelope to push, you know I'm going to push it ... Lasagne, anyone?

It may surprise you to know that Lasagne is actually British! No, really ...

Mentioned as Loseyne in 'The Forme of Cury', a 14th Century English cook book, where the recipe is recorded as:

"Take gode broth and do in an erthen pot, take flour of payndemayn and make therof past with water. and make therof thynne foyles as paper with a roller, drye it harde and seeth it in broth take Chese ruayn  grated and lay it in disshes with powdour douce. and lay theron loseyns isode as hoole as thou mizt and above powdour and chese, and so twyse or thryse, & serue it forth."

Easy ... so "sheets", cheese and something between them ...

Primal Lasagne!

Okay, so what the heck is primal about Lasagne, eh? Well, nothing, especially not since primal is most certainly not about emulating neolithic foods with alternative ingredients - that's just gluten-free.

Whenever I see recipes that emulate neolithic meals that are presented by simple placing the word "Paleo" or "Primal" up front, it gives me a smile - a smile is not a bad thing; a sneer is.

I smile. I smile because they do it, I do it, we all do it. To some extent, all so-called Primal cooking is quite neolithic in itself. Substituting ingredients that are negative to our health with ingredients which are not is eminently primal ... and a good thing to do.

Here's how not to do just that ...

Jump to about 43 minutes in for the substitution sketch

I hope you had a laugh ... L&H are quite probably the absolute genesis of film comedy. Whatever they do is funny ... everything after is a copy of these guys' comedy genius. Stanley is a northern Brit, don't you know.

Back to it ...

I also smile because this kind of food is quite often comfort food - it should make us smile. Tonight, cold, snowing and next to a warming fire, a plate of comforting Lasagne with a glass of nice Chilean Merlot is just the ticket.

We should take time to smile. I have read, although I am hazy about the reality of it, that when we smile, our brains release happiness into our system. It's a nice thought.

Let's get to it ...

The filling is a simple ragu of minced beef, onion, garlic, celery, carrot and mushroom in a chopped tomato, puree and beef stock sauce. Slow-cooked for three hours, reduced, perfect!

The cheese sauce is cheddar - medium and mature, mixed, in a mixture of half cow cream and half goat milk. Reduce until thickened.

The "pasta" is a manioc pancake - a cup of manioc flour (Brazilian sour starch, as I buy it), half a cup of finely grated pecorino, a sheep cheese, four eggs and an inch off a stick of goat butter, melted. This made me three large (12") pancakes, nice and thick, too, so three layers in the lasagne ("thryse" in our Old English tongue).

You can make these up while the cheese sauce is reducing and thickening. Don't be tempted to use arrowroot in a dairy sauce - it will look disgusting!

Ready to put it together?

In a 12" square dish, some cheese sauce, some ragu, a pancake and then repeat two more times. More cheese sauce over the top and some fresh herbs. Pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes until crispy and brown on top, then serve out.

Primal Lasagne

Of course, if you have a different shaped dish, perhaps oval, make smaller pancakes and put two side by side to fill the shape.

Better than pasta-based Lasagne? Not 'arf!