Angela Hartnett’s lasagne al forno
- May 2006
- Serves 6
- Takes 2¾ hours to make and 50 minutes in the oven
When Italians make a lasagne they use chopped steak, not mince, says Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett. Try this authentic al forno (or simply ‘lasagne baked in the oven’ in English) recipe and you’ll understand why.
- 25g (12.9g saturated)
- 33.6g, (7.6g sugars)
- 750g rump or chuck steak
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 568ml full-fat milk
- 100g Parmesan, coarsely grated
- 9 dried plain lasagne sheets
- Good bunch basil leaves
- Trim and discard any fat from the steak, then cut the meat into very small dice and set aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the beef and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until coloured all over. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for 1 minute. Add enough cold water (about 350ml) to just cover the meat and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1½ hours. Top up with water occasionally, if necessary. Uncover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until you have a rich sauce.
- When the bolognese is nearly ready, make the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring until thickened. Stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan, season and set aside.
- If you are using lasagne sheets that don’t need pre-cooking, go to step 4. But it’s more traditional to use sheets that need blanching. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Drop a few sheets at a time into the water and cook for a few minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into iced water.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Layer the lasagne. Spread a little of the béchamel sauce in the base of a deep, 2.25-litre ovenproof dish. Add 3 lasagne sheets in 1 layer, cutting them to fit your dish, if necessary. Add a third of the béchamel sauce, then top with half the meat. Scatter with torn basil and a little Parmesan. Make another layer of 3 lasagne sheets, then spread with a third of the béchamel, the rest of the meat and a little more basil and Parmesan. Add a final layer of 3 lasagne sheets and spread the rest of the béchamel on top. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for 8-10 minutes until deep golden. (Angela Hartnett’s tip: Don’t let the foil touch the Parmesan – it will stick and pull it away.)
Angela Hartnett’s tip: If you have a bottle open, add a splash of red wine after the tomato purée.
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