Old school lasagne

    2 hours 45 min

    Rich and layered, lasagne is to food what a hot water bottle is to a winter’s bed: the ultimate comfort. To build the perfect lasagne each layer must be generous and distinct, a balanced ménage à trois of punchy ragu (meat sauce), cheesy béchamel sauce and silky pasta.


    Western Cape, South Africa
    15 people made this

    Serves: 6 

    • For the ragu
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 100g unsmoked pancetta, lardon or bacon, very finely diced
    • 75g finely grated carrot
    • 75g finely chopped celery
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 500g minced beef, not too lean
    • 50g tomato purée
    • 1/2 glass red or white wine
    • 180ml fresh milk
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • For the béchamel sauce
    • 50g butter
    • 50g plain flour
    • 900ml full-fat milk
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
    • 100g mozzarella cheese, grated
    • To assemble
    • 1 (250g) packet dried lasagne sheets
    • dried oregano, to taste
    • fresh basil to garnish

    Prep:25min  ›  Cook:2hr  ›  Extra time:20min resting  ›  Ready in:2hr45min 

      For the ragu:

    1. Fry the pancetta/bacon gently in the olive oil over a medium heat until it starts to release its fat. Be careful not to let it burn. Add the carrots, celery and onions. Sauté until the onions are transparent and the vegetables are soft. Add the beef and cook until it is lightly browned, breaking the meat apart with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato puree and then the wine. Cook until the wine evaporates completely.
    2. Pour in the milk, little by little until it is completely absorbed. Season with salt and pepper, cover and cook very slowly for at least an hour but preferably two. Stir occasionally and if it looks like drying out, add a little more milk. Spoon off any excess oil that may rise to the surface.
    3. For the bechamel sauce:

    4. In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted completely, add the flour and stir for a couple of minutes until the flour cooks through.
    5. Add a splash of milk and whisk to combine. Continue to add the milk a little at a time, making sure that the milk and flour amalgamate completely before adding more. Whisk thoroughly to prevent any lumps. Once all the milk has been added, season with salt and pepper as well as a pinch of nutmeg.
    6. Add the grated mozzarella and continue to whisk over a medium heat until the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon.
    7. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
    8. To assemble:

    9. To assemble the lasagne, in a deep rectangle oven dish, spread a quarter of the ragu. Top with a quarter of the béchamel sauce and then layer with the pasta sheets
    10. Continue to build lasagne in this order until you have laid the third layer of pasta sheets. Cover with the final quarter of ragu and finish with béchamel sauce.
    11. Make sure that the final layers completely cover all the sheets of pasta. Sprinkle the top of the lasagne with the dried oregano and an extra crack of fresh black pepper.
    12. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top. Take the cooked lasagne out of the oven and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil and serve with a side salad or, if you are so inclined, chips.

    See it on my blog


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