So many of us these days reach for the already prepared jars of sauces to make a lasagne. But honestly, for the sake of another spoon and pot to throw into the dishwasher, a lasagne made from scratch (except for the pasta of course) is ten times tastier, and on thousand times more satisfying knowing you made this without the help of a certain italian puppet family you would occasionally see on TV trying to sell you sauces.
The tomato based meat sauce (Ragù) for this can too be a perfectly suitable Bolognese sauce.
Another little point, this lasagne serves my very hungry family, with leftovers, so this recipe can be reduced to your preferred scale as you so wish.
1KG Minced Beef
2 Onions (Diced)
2 Peppers (Red and/or Yellow) (Chopped)
1 stick celary (Finely chopped)
250g Mushrooms (Chopped)
2 Tins of Tomato
100g Tomato Puree
4 tablespoons Olive Oil (Extra Vigin)
2 cloves Garlic
3 Basil Leaves
3 teaspoons Oregano
3 teaspoons Parsley
1 teaspoon Chilli Flakes (Optional)
1 Beef (or Vegetable) stock cube (Crushed)
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
For White (Béchamel) Sauce
600ml Milk (Full Fat)
60g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (Grated)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 packet Lasagne Sheets (the amount varies by the size of the dish but a standard packet should be more than enough)
Grated Parmesan (a lot)
1 large ball Mozzarella (Finely chopped)
Chopped Parsley (for show)
- In a large pot add the oil, garlic and onion and let to simmer. Then add the mince and some salt and pepper seasoning.
- Once the meat is cooked full through turn the ring to a lower heat, add the veg (mushrooms, peppers and celary), and let cook for 5 mins. Stirring occasionally.
- Add the cans of tomato, tomato puree, basil, oregano, parsley, chilli flakes and stock cube and stir until the meat, veg and sauce have combined to a thick meaty sauce.
- Drop the ring to a very low heat and let the sauce simmer for a minimum of 45 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Of course the longer you leave this sauce to cook the better it will taste. If possible cooking the sauce for 2 hours would be ideal.
- Add seasoning to taste.
- Once satisfied with your ragù, it is time to prepare your Béchamel sauce. At this time you should pre heat your oven to 200°C/ 400°F/ Gas Mark 6. Then, in a pan, add the milk, butter, nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on a low heat until the butter is fully melted.
- Once melted add the flour. Stir vigorously to avoid floury lumps. Once you have reached the desired thick sauce like consistency take the pan off the heat.
- In a large lasagne dish add some of your ragù, (1/2 of the sauce), then add the lasagne sheets, making sure to cover all of the sauce. Next add a thick coating of the béchamel over the sheets (1/2 of the sauce), and grate over a generous helping of parmesan. Then repeat, with Ragù>Lasagne sheets>Béchamel. (I would get two layers usually)
- Once the dish is filled, generously spread the mozzarella and another healthy helping of grated parmesan.
- Cook in the oven for 20 minutes and a further 10 minutes under the grill. (Allow to stand for 30 minutes)
- Sprinkle over a helping of chopped parmesan, and serve.
- The lasagne dish gets extremely hot so take care when taking it out of the oven and grill.