Classic lasagne recipe

Classic lasagne recipe

You can't go wrong with lasagne – layers of silky pasta, creamy sauce and a rich meat ragù. The cooking time for this recipe is mostly hands-off Just leave the meat sauce to slowly cook.

Tips:

  • Rather than spending time finely chopping the vegetables, just whizz them up in the food processor using the pulse button until small. You don’t want a purée.
  • You do need to cook the meat sauce for as long as possible. Otherwise it will be bland. But it freezes brilliantly and tastes even better the day after you make it. Why not make a double batch, so you’re ready for the next one.
  • This recipe is cooked in a large dish, sufficient for 6 to 8 people, but you could always make two separate ones, layer one in a foil container then freeze.
  • You can either use all beef mince or use half and half minced beef and pork.
  • You will need a 2-litre (3.5pint) ovenproof baking dish.
  • Use whole milk, not skimmed, for the sauce, so you have a rich béchamel.
  • Adding a little milk to the meat sauce helps to tenderise the meat.
  • You may need a few extra, or a few less lasagne sheets. It depends on the size of the lasagne sheet and the size of your dish.

Ingredients

For the meat sauce
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 1 large celery stick
  • 2 carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 700 g beef mince
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 x 400g/14oz cans whole plum tomatoes in juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 150 ml strong beef stock
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 1 large celery stick
  • 2 carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 24.7 oz beef mince
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 x 400g/14oz cans whole plum tomatoes in juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 5.3 fl oz strong beef stock
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 1 large celery stick
  • 2 carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 24.7 oz beef mince
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2 x 400g/14oz cans whole plum tomatoes in juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 0.6 cup strong beef stock
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
For the béchamel sauce
  • 700 ml milk
  • 60 g butter
  • 60 g plain flour
  • 75 g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 24.6 fl oz milk
  • 2.1 oz butter
  • 2.1 oz plain flour
  • 2.6 oz freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2.1 oz butter
  • 2.1 oz plain flour
  • 2.6 oz freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
For the lasagne
  • 200 g dried lasagne sheets
  • 1 handful fresh basil, to serve (optional)
  • 7.1 oz dried lasagne sheets
  • 1 handful fresh basil, to serve (optional)
  • 7.1 oz dried lasagne sheets
  • 1 handful fresh basil, to serve (optional)

Details

  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Recipe Type: Pasta
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 40 mins
  • Cooking Time: 210 mins
  • Serves: 6

Step-by-step

  1. Pulse the onion, celery, carrot and garlic in the processor until fine but not so it becomes a thick pulp. Otherwise, finely chop them.
  2. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or saucepan. Cook the vegetables over a low heat for 30 minutes until soft, but not browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Now add the minced beef and brown it, stirring constantly. Return the vegetables to the meat pan.
  3. Add all the remaining meat sauce ingredients to the pan, stir well, season, bring to the boil then leave to simmer, uncovered, for at least two hours – the longer the better.  Break up the tomatoes roughly with a wooden spoon. You want a thick, rich sauce.
  4. When the sauce is nearly ready, make the béchamel sauce. Gently heat the milk. In a separate pan, melt the butter then add the flour. Stir well and keep stirring over a medium heat until lightly browned, about two to three minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking all the time, until the sauce has thickened. Season and add 1tbsp of the Parmesan and the nutmeg.
  5. Now you are ready to assemble the lasagne. Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6). Butter your 2-litre (3.5 pint) dish.
  6. Add a little white sauce to the base and spread around with a spoon. Now add the pasta sheets in a single layer. Depending on the size of your dish, you will need two to three sheets per layer.  There will be three layers of pasta. Spread a third of the remaining white sauce over the pasta with a little of the cheese. Now spoon on half the meat sauce. Top with more pasta sheets. Spoon over half the remaining white sauce and a sprinkling of cheese. Add the remaining meat sauce. Add the final layer of pasta, the remaining white sauce and finally, the Parmesan.
  7. Bake in the oven for 35–45 minutes, until bubbling and golden, piping hot throughout.
  8. Leave the lasagne to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Scatter over some fresh basil, if you like.

Image: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

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