It’s not even my type of music, yet I find the soundtrack to the Broadway Musical ‘Jersey Boys’ strangely infectious. It’s one of 3 musicals that I’ve seen ‘live’ in New York and I have incredibly fond memories of it, mostly due to the fact that I saw it on a fabulous girl’s weekend with a dear friend from Australia who was also living in the USA at the time.
Anyway… fast forward a few years and here you’ll find me singing along in my Aussie kitchen to the rather awkwardly high-pitched tones of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons as I prepare our dinner. I could have chosen something more traditionally Italian (as is more often the case), but this was really such a fun way to pass an hour or so! No inhibitions… the rest of the family were all out! The kitchen was MINE!
With such upbeat music in the air, there was a lightness of hand, head and heart that evening while cooking and singing in the kitchen… and the lasagne tasted better than ever! My question for you dear people is… is it possible that there’s a direct correlation between the two? Does music create tastier food? Should the genre of music be tailored to the style of food being prepared? Tell me… do you happen to enjoy singing in the kitchen too?
🎵”Oh What A Night!”🎵
(Beef & Mushroom) Lasagne | Gather and Graze
For the Meat Sauce:
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Large French Shallot (or ½ Brown Onion) Chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic (Crushed)
- ½ Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 800g Beef Mince
- 125ml/½ Cup Red Wine
- 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
- 2-3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (depending on strength of paste)
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
For the Bechamel Sauce:
- 60g Unsalted Butter
- 60g Plain Flour
- 600ml Milk (Warmed over gentle heat, or carefully in the microwave)
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper (or White Pepper instead if you have some)
- 6-8 Medium/Large Mushrooms (I prefer Swiss Brown) Sliced
- Small Bunch Flat-Leaf Parsley (Chopped)
- Fresh Pasta/Lasagne Sheets
- Cheese (Grated) for the topping (I like a mixture of Mozzarella and Parmesan)
To make the meat sauce… In a large frypan, gently sauté the shallot with a pinch of salt in the olive oil until translucent. Add the crushed garlic and oregano and sauté a minute or two more. Raise the heat a little and add the minced beef, cooking until browned. Pour in the wine and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes or so until reduced by about half. Now add the tomatoes, tomato paste and season to taste with some more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Allow to simmer for another 15-20 minutes at least. Then set aside to cool slightly, while you make the béchamel sauce.
To make the béchamel… Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low/medium heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for a couple of minutes until the mixture begins to bubble gently. Remove from the heat and add the (warmed) milk all at once, whisking as you do to ensure there are no lumps. Place the pan back on the heat and continue to whisk until it comes to a simmer and thickens. Allow to simmer for about a further couple of minutes, then remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and a good grinding of pepper.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Begin to layer the lasagne in a large baking dish. I always start with a little meat sauce spread across the base, then a layer of fresh lasagne sheets, followed by a good layer (about half) of the meat sauce, sliced mushrooms (with a portion left without for our youngest who hasn’t yet realised how wonderful mushrooms really are…) and then a scattering of chopped parsley…
Now add a layer of béchamel sauce (about a third)…
then back to the lasagne sheets. Repeat this process then top the final lasagne sheets with a further layer of béchamel sauce and finish with some grated cheese.
Place into the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes or so, until heated all the way through… and the cheese has melted and gone golden and bubbly on top.
Serve with a fresh garden salad and a glass of red… Oh and please pretend you didn’t see those little elbows on the table! 😉
Lasagne is so yummy. I have never layered the mushrooms through it like this. I usually add mushrooms in with the onions. I sometimes put a layer of spinach. I sauté spinach first in some garlic and rosemary and then add as layer with the meat sauce and cheese sauce.
All those layers, those colours, you have my heart palpitating haha! This looks like the perfect entertaining meal!
Thanks for sharing your lovely recipe!
MUCH LOVE KAREN
Thanks very much Karen! 🙂
I love the first picture, Margot! The light and the angle … and that cheese? Just speaks loud! 😆
That’s very kind Francesca, thank you! It was something of a lucky shot, as I really didn’t want too much heat to escape from the oven.
I should try putting on some music when I’m cooking and see what happens. My problem is that I’m addicted to Radio 4 which is mostly spoken word, but if a little tune comes on then I generally start bopping a bit 😉 I tend to find myself singing when I’m washing up though … oh dear.
Love the look of this lasagne!!
Thanks Trix! I’ve just started streaming Radio 4 to have a listen… the ‘Brain of Britain’ is on right now… perhaps I’ll become addicted too! 🙂
I don’t have a microwave in my kitchen, but I do have a space for one…and it fits my sound system perfectly! So my favourite tunes are always on in the kitchen, right at my fingertips. It makes cooking even more enjoyable, and the kitchen a fun and sociable place to be for others. It’s my happy place for sure! 🙂
Sounds perfect Sam! Your kitchen definitely sounds like the heart of your home… as it should be! 🙂
I’ve never attended a musical, so I cannot say anything about it. But I can tell you a lot about lasagne… and your “double” version looks super yummy Margot!
Thank you so much Margherita, that means a lot to me… coming from you! 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend!
How funny – I made lasagne yesterday but not half as pretty as yours! And I love a good sing song when I’m cooking, glass of wine in hand and waving a spoon as a microphone 😉
Your lasagne must have tasted beautiful though Tanya, I’m sure!
I’m loving the idea of the ‘spoon microphone’ – will have to try that one next time! You’ve taken it a notch up… how fabulous! 😉
Haven’t seen Jersey Boys on Broadway, but the movie version is coming up in the TV queue. Looking forward to it. I love this lasagne, Margot. Now I am really hungry. 😛
Oh, I’m intrigued to know what the movie version will be like Fae – I didn’t realise they’d made one… will have to keep an eye out for it! Thanks as always for your kind comment. 🙂
I love listening to music whilst cooking, especially when no one is home, I can turn it up real loud, sing to my hearts content and send those happy vibes in to my food. Might have to check out this Jersey Boy’s soundtrack…
There is definitely something nice about having the kitchen to yourself, along with the choice (and volume) of music to yourself as well! I completely agree Michelle! 🙂
Delicious recipe !!
Thank you so very much! 🙂
Have to say, I’m loving your photos. The lead-in is so warm with those orange bars. But what are they? Are you Photoshopping for hours, editing an oven shelf?! Whatever it is it works. And we’re seeing glimpses of your kitchen again. Next it’ll Youtube vids of your singing! Oh what a night. Instantly recognisable from the title.
And a decent lasagne. With mushrooms. I’m off to get dessert!
Such a generous comment Johnny – thank you! The photo up the top was possibly the quickest shot I’ve ever taken – threw open the oven with camera in right hand, lasagne in left… didn’t want the heat to escape, so took one super-fast photo on the off-chance it might turn out. I was kind of excited when I saw it – nice little glow from the oven light – quite unexpected! No cropping or colour adjustments required.
Don’t think I’ll be putting anyone through the pain of listening to my singing voice on youtube… perhaps I could lip-sync instead!? 😉
Hope you have a fab weekend! M
The musical genre of theatre is not my thing, but, I do see a correlation between music and food. i have the cookbook/CD compilation, “Hot Food, Cool Jazz” wonderful chilli hot Malay cuisine, steamy sensuous jazz. It works! I often cook to the ethnic sounds of the old Buddha Bar Cds, definitely moves the cooking vibe up a notch!
That’s fabulous Sandra! I’m going to have to check out these CDs – sounds like my kind of music! 🙂
I thought the little arm was just reaching out for the salad not leaning on the table.
Good try Mum! 😉 If the little fist didn’t have a fork clenched in it, I might have to agree with you. M.xx
I’m sure Barbies right…not your beautifully mannered boys! Definitely reaching for the salad! 🙂 x
Ha! Not sure he’s ever reached voluntarily for the salad! 😉 M.xx
Havent seen Jersey boys, but that lasagne looks just fabulous Margot! Yum!
Cheers Naina! It’s really worth seeing if you get the chance. 🙂
Gonna try that soon 🙂
Please let me know your thoughts if you do… thanks Rebecca!
Jersey Boys was a great show… I saw it about three years ago. And this lasagna? Oh yeah, you have me wishing I had a dish of it right here in front of me right at this very moment. It looks so delicious! Printing this one up… I’m thinking I might make it this weekend as a matter of fact! ❤ Awesome post.
Aww, thanks so much Prudy for the kind words! Let me know if you give it a try… you know you’ll have to find some Jersey Boy music to play while you’re making it, don’t you!? 😉
Maybe to play while we are eating it too! Ive been thinking about it all day, which is a sure indicator that its going to be made very soon!
Love it! 🙂
Gorgeous lasagna Margot!! Wow!!! I believe that there is a correlation between great music and great food simply because the music inspires and lifts the spirit and when you are in that frame of mind the food has to be good. BTW, I dislike musicals as a general rule and loved Jersey Boys, I thought the music of Frankie Valli and the The Four Seasons was wonderful. I have only seen 2 or 3 musicals (I live in NYC) my friend bought tix and took me to see this and I had to admit it was terrific.
Amen, sista-friend. ❤
Thanks Suzanne! I’m excited to know that you really enjoyed Jersey Boys too – so cleverly staged and such a fun night out! I often have music on while I’m cooking dinner, but the other evening with the Jersey Boys it was turned up a notch and seemed to almost become a part of what I was doing… it certainly lifted the spirits! 🙂