Pasta Stuffed with Veal and Fennel with Gorgonzola Sauce

Pasta is often impractical for entertaining as it needs cooking at the last minute. However, this flavourful dish is more suitable as you can even make it the day before if you like. Accompany it with a green leaf or frisée salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 large red or orange pepper
  • 1 large bulb fennel
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 450 g/1 lb lean minced veal
  • 8 sheets fresh or no-need-to-precook lasagne
  • salt
  • black pepper

For the sauce

  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 25 g/1 oz plain flour
  • 600 ml/1 pint milk
  • 75 g/3 oz Gorgonzola cheese

Method

Cut the pepper in half, discard the seeds and stem and chop the flesh finely. Cut the base and tough stalks off the fennel and discard any scarred outer parts, reserving any green feathery bits to use as garnish later. Chop the fennel finely. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Roughly crush the coriander seeds.

Put the olive oil into a large, deep frying pan, add the chopped pepper, fennel and crushed coriander seeds and stir for a moment or two. Then cover and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. When the vegetables are soft, add the garlic to the pan and stir for another minute or two, then increase the heat and stir in the minced veal. Stir around with a wooden spoon until the meat has separated, then cook for about 5 minutes. Season well and then turn the mixture into a bowl to cool slightly. Spoon some on to the centre of each sheet of lasagne, roll the pasta loosely round the filling and place each piece carefully in an oiled rectangular ovenproof dish, join-side down.

To make the sauce, gently melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and, using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the milk, then return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time until thickened. Remove from the heat again and crumble in the Gorgonzola. Stir until the cheese has melted, then season with black pepper, adding salt only if necessary. Gradually pour the sauce over the stuffed pasta, letting it sink down to the bottom of the dish as well.

You can either cook the dish now and then reheat it or you can cook it later. To cook, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5 and bake just above the centre for 35-40 minutes, until speckled brown.

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