Léo, my son, played in a tennis tournament yesterday. For me, this resulted in an acute attack of what I can only describe as Internal Tourettes. In my head, I morphed into a sort of raging maniac. Believe me, it wasn’t pretty; move over Tiger Mother – you’ve got competition! My shameless unsportsmanlike mind cheered at double faults, hissed and snarled at anyone deigning to applaud the
enemy opponent and yelled things that I’m certainly not going to commit to type. And yet, there I sat with a beatific smile that said ‘it’s the taking part, not the winning that counts’. Yeah right. This was definitely one of those occasions that called for unbridled hypocrisy, something I’ve apparently mastered to a T.
This lasagne is suitable comfort for scrupulously gallant players who might or might not have been defeated by up-themselves whippersnappers
Ingredients (serves six)
2 medium-sized aubergines
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
500g minced beef
400g tinned tomatoes
4 tablespoons tomato purée
1 teaspoon tabasco
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
50ml red wine
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of rosemary
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g Mozarella, finely sliced
100g Parmesan, shaved
Peel the aubergines and then cut into roughly 3mm slices. Leave them to ‘sweat’ out their moisture for about an hour by sprinkling with sea salt. Meanwhile, you can begin to cook the meat. Gently fry the onion, garlic and carrot in olive oil in a large frying pan for about five minutes. Add the minced beef and continue to brown for about 5 minutes. Add the tinned and puréed tomatoes, herbs and seasoning and stir well, making sure to break up the mince. Add the wine and gently simmer until the liquid has reduced and the sauce is concentrated and fairly homogenous (roughly 45 minutes).
Rinse the salt from the aubergines, which should by now have shed most of their excess water and pat them dry. Take a good-sized roasting dish and layer the meat, aubergines and cheese (in that order) several times, finishing with a generous layer of Parmesan cheese. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 180°C for about an hour, or until the cheese is bubbling and turning golden brown.