About this recipe:In Italy, bolognese sauce is also called ragu. A traditional ragu recipe typically calls for more minced meat than tomatoes and requires at least 1 hour to simmer (longer if you can). My personal touch to a traditional lasagne recipe is the addition of nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. These spices give a distinctive aroma and add a delicious flavour to the dish.
For the bolognese sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped carrot
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1kg minced meat, mixed veal and beef
200g pork sausage, casing removed and crumbled
120ml white wine
1 (400g) tin of chopped tomatoes or passata
1 tablespoon tomato puree
5 whole cloves
120ml of warm water
salt, as needed
To assemble the lasagne
12 fresh or pre-cooked lasagne sheets (about 250g)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1L homemade bechamel sauce or 2 (500ml) jars of bechamel sauce
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
300g grated Parmesan cheese
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:2hr › Ready in:2hr15min
For the bolognese sauce:
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook the chopped carrots, onion, celery and minced garlic for a few minutes to soften.
Stir in minced beef, veal and crumbled sausage; cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until browned, about 10 minutes. Pour in the wine and and let simmer for a few minutes so the alcohol evaporates. Add tomatoes, tomato puree, whole cloves, a pinch of salt and 120ml of warm water. Stir, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour, checking and stirring every so often. Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.
To assemble and cook lasagne:
Preheat oven to 160 C / Gas 2.
Warm up the bechamel sauce in a small saucepan, adding some milk if it is too thick.
Grease a 20x30cm baking dish with a little oil. Use a ladle to pour a layer of bolognese sauce over the bottom of the dish. Lay 3 lasagne sheets side by side on top of the bolognese and cover with bechamel sauce, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of cinnamon, another layer of bolognese sauce and a good handful of grated Parmesan cheese.
Repeat the same layering finishing with bechamel sauce and a heavy layer of grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until the pasta is fully cooked and the top is golden brown. Remove from oven, then let stand for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
If you use thin fresh lasagne, you won't need to cook the sheets before baking. If they are thick - dip each sheet in salted boiling water for 1 minute, drain and pass quickly under the cold tap to stop the cooking process. Lay them on a tea towel and pat dry before using.