Best of the best lasagne

Best of the best lasagne
  • Serves icon Serves 6-8
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 min. Oven time 45-50 min, plus simmering time 1 hour 15 min

A saucy, slow-cooked, meaty ragù enhanced by a rich, cheesy brown-butter bechamel and layered between al dente pasta sheets with a tiny bit of crunchiness on top – this tower of comfort hits the heights of flavour. Want to understand the secrets behind its greatness? Read our guide to cooking the best lasagne you’ll ever make.

Check out our best-of-the best recipes hall of fame, including the ultimate fish pie and chilli con carne.

Nutrition: Per serving (for 8)

Calories
792kcals
Fat
43g (20g saturated)
Protein
43g
Carbohydrates
48g (15g sugars)
Fibre
4.5g
Salt
1.1g
Calories
792kcals
Fat
43g (20g saturated)
Protein
43g
Carbohydrates
48g (15g sugars)
Fibre
4.5g
Salt
1.1g

Ingredients

  • 12 or so dried lasagne sheets (depending on the dish size)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 20g parmesan, finely grated

For the ragù

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g pork mince (not lean)
  • 500g beef mince (not lean)
  • 100g diced pancetta
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 80g tomato pureé
  • 300ml red wine
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g passata
  • ¼ bunch thyme, tied with string
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150ml whole milk

For the bechamel

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 80g plain flour
  • 750ml whole milk, warmed
  • 125g ball mozzarella, torn
  • 20g parmesan, finely grated
  • ¼ nutmeg, finely grated
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar

Specialist kit

  • Deep rectangular baking dish (about 30cm x 20cm)

Method

  1. First make the ragù. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a high heat and brown the mince, straining off liquid if necessary. Once browned, set aside the mince on a plate. Adjust the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tbsp oil (if needed), the pancetta, onion, garlic, celery, carrot and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, for about 8 minutes until everything is softened but not coloured.
  2. Stir in the tomato pureé and the mince, cook for a minute, then deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by around a third (about 5 minutes). Add the tinned tomatoes, passata, herbs and milk. Stir, then cover with a lid and cook gently for 45 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for 30 minutes more – you want a nice saucy ragù so keep an eye on it, turning the heat down or adding a little water if needed.
  3. Meanwhile make the brown butter bechamel. Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat and cook until the white solids have turned brown and smell nutty (about 8 minutes). Stir in the flour, cook for a minute while stirring, then whisk in the milk, bit by bit, until you have a smooth sauce. Add the mozzarella and the parmesan, then stir until melted. Add the nutmeg and vinegar, then season to taste.
  4. Heat the oven to 170°C fan/gas 5. Spoon some of the ragù into the dish (discarding the bay leaf and thyme). Cover well with lasagne sheets, snapping them into pieces if needed, followed by some bechamel. Repeat with another 2-3 layers (ragù, pasta, bechamel), making sure the final two are pasta and bechamel. Sprinkle with both seeds and the parmesan, then put the dish on a baking sheet and cook for 45-50 minutes until golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and set aside for at least 10 minutes before serving.

delicious. tips

  1. You can assemble the dish the day before. Or make the ragù up to 3 days ahead and keep it in the fridge. The ragù freezes well too – defrost, then warm slightly in a pan before using in the lasagne.

Recipe By

Pollyanna Coupland

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