Lasagne is a favourite dish in our house as it’s full of flavour and a meal in itself. We like to make extra lasagne for enjoying the next day or putting in the freezer for a later date. Although this recipe makes a large lasagne suitable for 6 servings, you could make little individual lasagnes too by altering the ingredient measurements. While many people rush out to the shops to buy ready made tomato sauce and béchamel sauce for their lasagne, our recipe uses fresh ingredients to make these sauces. Read and enjoy.
For the Ragu:
- 700g lean beef mince
- 3 onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 6-8 medium mushrooms, diced
- Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp, heaped, dried oregano
- 1 tbsp, heaped, tomato puree
- 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- 1-2 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
For the cheesy béchamel sauce:
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 2 pints milk
- 170 – 200g mature cheddar, grated (depending on how cheesy you like it!)
- salt and pepper
Dried pasta sheets
Preparation time – 30 minutes
Cooking time – 90 minutes
1. Make the tomato ragu
Gently fry the diced onions in a little olive oil until lightly golden. Add the crushed garlic and mushrooms and stir. Put a lid on the pan to keep the juices in and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Remove the onion mix from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Cover the onion mix with cling film to keep all the juices from evaporating. Now add the beef mince to the pan and fry over a medium heat until browned. Be careful to not overcook the mince as it will become dry.
Top Tip: Cook the mince in batches as to not overcrowd the pan which would make the mince broil rather than fry. Add each batch of cooked mince to the onion mix and recover with cling film.
Once the beef is nearly all cooked, return the onion mix to the pan with the beef and add the rest of the ragu ingredients. For extra flavour you can add a glass of red wine. Stir the ingredients together and put the lid on the pan. Simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until all of the flavours infuse.
2. Make the cheesy béchamel sauce
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low-medium heat, making sure not to burn or boil. Add the flour and stir quickly to combine. Cook the butter flour mix for 1-2 minutes. Add a little bit of the milk to the butter flour mix and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the milk in stages, whisking at all times. Bring the sauce to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for around 10 minutes until thickened.
Tip Tip: Heat the milk gently before adding to the butter flour mix so that it combines easily and quickly becomes smooth.
Reduce the heat again and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and remove from the heat until you are ready to assemble the lasagne.
3. Assemble the Lasagne
You can use fresh pasta sheets if you wish but we have used dried pasta sheets here as there’s usually a box in the cupboard.
Top Tip: To make dried pasta sheets more tender before assembling, add a few at a time to a pot of boiling water and partially pre-cook for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, take the sheets out and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before handling. Pre-boiling the lasagne sheets also makes them easier to cut for filling in awkward gaps.
Lightly oil the bottom of the baking dish and cover with a single layer of the pasta, filling in any gaps. Top with a layer of the mince ragu and cover with another layer of pasta. Spoon on half the béchamel sauce and repeat with another layer of pasta, ragu and pasta. Spoon on the top layer of béchamel, making sure all pasta is covered with the sauce. As the béchamel sauce has plenty of cheese in it you do not have to top the lasagne with a sprinkling of grated cheese but you may wish to.
4. Cook the Lasagne
Cover the assembled lasagne with tin foil and place in a pre-heated oven at 190°C. Cook for 50-60 minutes removing the tin foil half way through. Remove from the oven and cover with tin foil again. Allow the lasagne to sit for half an hour before serving.
Top Tip: Allowing the lasagne to sit covered for about 30 minutes makes it easier to cut and serve in individual slabs without falling apart. It also makes it a nicer temperature to eat!!
5. Serve and enjoy
Cut the lasagne into portions and lift out with a fish slice. We like to serve our lasagne with a dressed salad for a light lunch, or with seasoned potato wedges and a side salad for a more filling meal.
Additional serving suggestions:
For some extra meaty flavour in your lasagne fry pancetta, smokey bacon or chorizo with the onions and include in the ragu sauce.
Are you a fan of lasagne? Let us know below if there are any secret ingredients you like to put into your own lasagne. You can keep up with all of our latest recipes and travel stories by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.