Lasagne is a dish that needs no introduction. We’ve all had it. We all love it. There are so many different ways to make it but this is the way I like it. My recipe is based on Rachel Allen’s Classic Lasagne (from Rachel’s Food for Living cookbook) with a little twist of Jamie Oliver from his Simple Baked Lasagne and a few tweaks of my own.
4 to 6 people
12 fresh pasta sheets
125 grams of grated parmesan cheese and additional to serve
150 grams of baby spinach
Bolognese sauce (as below)
Béchamel sauce (as below)
1 onion peeled and chopped
1 carrot peeled and chopped
1 stick of celery chopped
2 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
A lug of olive oil
A knob of butter
A pinch of chilli flakes
A handful of fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano)
350 grams of minced beef
1 glass (5 ounces) of red wine (Rioja is my choice, pour a second glass to drink while cooking)
450 grams of passata (or 1 x 400 gram tin of chopped tomatoes, I prefer using passata)
freshly ground black pepper
50 grams of butter
50 grams of flour
600 ml of milk
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. To make the Bolognese sauce, put a casserole pan on medium heat with a lug of olive oil and a knob of butter. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and crushed garlic to the pan with a pinch of chilli flakes. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the vegetables are lightly golden. Toss in the chopped fresh herbs and beef then turn up the heat. Break up the beef while stirring until it browns. Next, pour in the red wine and passata and then bring to the boil. Season the sauce with freshly ground black pepper and reduce the heat. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes until it thickens.
4. Make the béchamel sauce by melting the butter in saucepan over medium heat then adding the flour and cooking for 1 to 2 minutes while continuously stirring. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk. Return the pan to a medium high heat and continue to whisk until it thickens then set aside.
5. Assemble the lasagne by first rubbing some olive oil over the bottom and sides of your lasagne dish then putting a layer of fresh pasta across the bottom of the dish. (I use 4 fresh sheets per layer in a 10 x 8 inch dish.) Next cover the pasta with half of the Bolognese sauce then half of the baby spinach followed by a third of the béchamel sauce and a third of the grated parmesan cheese. Continue with another layer of pasta, the remaining Bolognese, the remaining spinach then a third of the béchamel and grated parmesan. Finish off with a final layer of pasta topped with the remaining béchamel and grated parmesan.
6. Bake the lasagne in your preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until it is golden on top.
7. Serve with homemade garlic bread and a tossed salad.