- January 2020
- Serves 6-8
- Hands-on time 50 min, simmering time 20-30 min, oven time 3 hours 45 min, plus resting
How to take lasagne to the next level? There are several secrets to success, the most important being to slow-cook the ragù to glorious meaty richness. Follow our fail-safe recipe to perfect the classic Italian comfort dish.
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- 26.8g (14.1g saturated)
- 32.3g (9.7g sugars)
- 250g fresh lasagne sheets
For the ragù sauce
- 20g butter
- 100g smoked diced pancetta (or British free-range chopped streaky bacon)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
- 200g British beef or veal mince
- 200g British free-range pork mince
- 200ml whole milk
- Fresh nutmeg for grating
- 175ml dry white wine
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
For the bechamel (white sauce)
- 60g unsalted butter
- 60g plain flour
- 700ml whole milk
- 80g parmesan, finely grated
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
You’ll also need…
- Large ovenproof pan (one with a lid); 2 litre baking dish
- For the ragù, melt the 20g butter in a large ovenproof pan over a medium heat and gently fry the pancetta for about 8 minutes until crisp and the fat has rendered. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, then soften gently for 10 minutes.
- Add the beef/veal and pork mince to the pan and fry, stirring to break up any lumps. Pour in the milk, grate over a little nutmeg, then simmer very gently for 20-30 minutes. Heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2.
- Stir the wine, tomatoes and most of the oregano into the pan, then season. Cover with the lid slightly ajar, then oven-cook for 3 hours until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick. Check every now and then, adding a little water if needed.
- Meanwhile, make the bechamel. Melt the 60g butter in a medium heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the flour and stir for 3-4 minutes until the mixture starts to smell toasty. Gradually add the milk, then simmer, whisking, for 6-8 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in 20g of the parmesan and a good grating of fresh nutmeg, then season well.
- To assemble, spread a little of the bechamel or ragù over the base of the baking dish, then cover with slightly overlapping lasagne sheets. Spoon over a third of the bechamel, sprinkle with a little of the remaining parmesan, then top with half the ragù. Add another layer of lasagne, then top with half the remaining bechamel and all the remaining ragù. Add the final layer of lasagne, then spread with the remaining bechamel. Scatter with the rest of the parmesan, then set aside for a bit – ideally overnight in the fridge, but an hour at room temperature will do (see Make Ahead).
- When ready to bake, heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Bake the lasagne for 40-45 minutes until golden and bubbling. Garnish with the remaining oregano to serve.
Assemble the lasagne up to a day ahead, cover and chill. Take out of the fridge and bring to room temperature before baking. Freeze for up to a month in 1 large or 2-3 smaller freezerproof containers.
Any soft, ripe Italian red would work, but a good valpolicella is the top choice.
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