Sooooo lovely and comforting, both to make and to eat – this is such a lovely family supper dish
What you need…
Ovenproof dish (mine is 20cm x 30cm)
Splash of olive oil
1 kg minced beef
500g minced lamb
150g mozzarella, torn up
A handful of fresh sage leaves
Lasagne sheets, fresh or dried (enough to cover your ovenproof dish three times)
for the tomato sauce
Splash of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 bay leaves
2 x 400g tins of chopped Italian tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
for the white sauce
1 litre milk
½ onion, peeled and sliced
Small handful black peppercorns
60g plain flour, sieved
120g – 150g grated fresh Parmesan
Sea salt & black pepper
What to do…
Heat a large, deep frying pan with a splash of olive oil. Slowly fry the garlic until lightly coloured, then add the rosemary, bay leaves, tomatoes and tomato puree. Cook gently for 45 minutes with the lid on.
Add the meat to your tomato mixture and simmer for 20 minutes, creating a tomato and meat ragu.
Meanwhile, put the milk, nutmeg, onion and black peppercorns into a medium sized saucepan and bring gently to the boil. Melt the butter in a third saucepan (large) and tip in the flour. Mix well to form the beginning of a roux sauce (it will look like a glossy ball). Gradually add the flavoured milk – one ladle at a time and through a sieve (you don’t want all the peppercorns and onions in there), stirring it well until you have a thick, smooth white sauce. Bring to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes, then take off the heat and add Parmesan and seasoning.
Remove the rosemary and bay leaves from the tomato and meat ragu.
Preheat the oven to 180c / 350 f / gas 4 and butter a large baking dish.
Cover the bottom of the dish with lasagne sheets. Then cover with a thin layer of your ragu. Then cover with a thin layer of the white sauce. Repeat with a further two sets of layers – pasta, ragu and white sauce – ending with white sauce. Scatter over the torn mozzarella and sage leaves.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and let your lovely, comforting lasagne settle for maybe 10 minutes. Serve with a fabulous, robust bottle of Italian wine.
It is easy but does take time: you need to be in the right mood. Choose your music, open a nice bottle of red and enjoy the process. The cooking smells are wonderful and definitely contribute to the enjoyment of this dish. There are however loads of pans to wash up but….it’s worth it! I wash them whilst the lasagne is in the oven so that when I sit down, I’m totally relaxed.