Always wanted to know how to make lasagne? A classic Italian dish, this lasagne recipe has pasta and beef ragu layered with sheets of pasta and Béchamel sauce. It's rich, it's comforting – and you can make enough to have for lunch the next day.
The trick to truly amazing lasagne is good-quality pasta. Fresh pasta sheets are best – or try hand-rolling your own, if you have a pasta maker or pasta making mixer attachment. Having said that, dried pasta sheets are perfectly serviceable.
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To make enough lasagne for two (with seconds), you'll need:
- Eight rectangular pasta sheets large enough for a standard oven dish
- Beef mince, 500 grams
- One white onion, finely chopped
- One large carrot, finely chopped
- One celery stick, finely chopped
- A tin of chopped tomatoes
- Tomato paste, two teaspoons
- Two garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
- Italian herb mix that includes oregano, or dried oregano, two teaspoons
- Parmesan cheese, a couple of tablespoons
- Red wine, 200 ml
- Hot beef or vegetable stock, 500 ml
- Olive oil, four tablespoons
For the Béchamel sauce you will need:
- Unsalted butter, 50 grams
- Whole milk, 500ml
- Plain flour, 50 grams
- Two bay leaves
- A large garlic clove, peeled
1. In a deep frying pan, heat up the olive oil and gently fry the onion until it's softened but not coloured.
2. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and fry for about five minutes.
3. Add the tomato puree, garlic, herbs, and beef. Fry until the beef has browned on the outside.
4. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for a further five minutes. Pour in the hot stock and let simmer for about 40 minutes, or until a thick ragu sauce is formed.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and make the Béchamel:
5. In a saucepan, melt the butter and add in the flour, forming a thick paste called a roux. Pour in the milk, season with salt, and add the garlic clove and bay leaves. Simmer gently for about five minutes, or until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a cooking spoon. Take off the heat and take out the garlic clove and the bay leaves. Let rest.
6. When the ragu is ready, line the bottom of a deep rectangular oven dish with approximately a quarter of the meat. Then, take a couple of tablespoons of the Béchamel sauce and spread on top of the ragu. Sprinkle a little parmesan on top
7. Cover with two pasta sheets (if using dried, you'll need to pre-cook them in boiling water). Repeat the layering process twice, then top the final layer of pasta sheets with the remaining Béchamel and Parmesan.
8. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for half an hour, until the top begins to bubble and brown.
Serve with fresh basil and salad.