Lasagne

My take on a traditional Italian lasagne with a rich ragù, silky béchamel sauce and fresh pasta. Every bit of effort that goes into making this will definitely pay off. If you are looking to save time, each component can be prepped the day before. Recipe below...



INGREDIENTS


Serves 6-8



RAGÙ:

2 large onions (finely diced)

3 carrots (finely dice)

3 celery stalks (finely diced)

500g beef mince

500g pork mince

3 bay leaves

Sprig of thyme

250ml red wine

500g tomato passata

150g sun-dried tomatoes (finely chopped) or 2 tbsp tomato paste

1.5 litres beef stock

Salt and pepper

BÉCHAMEL SAUCE:

70g butter

70 flour

1 litre whole milk

Nutmeg

50g parmesan

Salt and pepper

PASTA:

400g flour

4 eggs

1 tsp salt



METHOD



RAGÙ:

1. Add some olive oil into a pan over a medium-high heat. Add the pork and beef mince to the pan and brown - do this in batches so you do not stew the meat. Once browned, remove from the pan.

2. Add a splash more olive oil into pan as well as a knob of butter. Add the soffrito / mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) into the pan and cook until softened and beginning to brown. Add in the thyme and bay leaves and cook for a few more minutes.

3. Add the red wine and cook for a few more minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate.


4. Next, go ahead and add the rest of the ingredients - passata, sun-dried tomatoes, beef stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the ragù to a simmer, cover and place into a preheated oven of 180 degrees celcius. Cook for 45 minutes then remove the lid and cook for a further 1 - 2 hours. The key to getting a lasagne that isn’t sloppy is in the ragù - make sure it has reduced and thickened. If there is too much liquid, cook until it has evaporated. Vice versa, if the ragù is looking very dry, top up with water.

5. Once the ragu is cooked remove from the oven and set aside, ready to use later.



PASTA:

1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and tip onto a clean surface. Make a well in the centre and crack in the 4 eggs. Gradually incorporate the eggs into the flour. Once fully incorporated, knead for roughy 10 minutes or until smooth.

2. Cover in cling film and rest in a fridge for at least 2 hours. Once the dough has rested in the fridge, remove and bring to room temperature before rolling out.

3. Roll out the pasta dough to 1/8 inch thick (normally lowest setting on a machine) and cut into rectangular sheets.



BÉCHAMEL SAUCE:

1. Melt the butter in a pan. Add the flour, mix and cook for a few minutes to remove the “floury” taste.

2. Gradually mix in the milk, continuously whisking to ensure no lumps form. Once all incorporated, cook for a few more minutes on the heat.

3. Remove from the heat, add in the parmesan, a few gratings of nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste.



LASAGNE:

1. Add some of the ragù to the bottom of your dish and spread out evenly.

2. Lay some pasta sheets over the top, followed by a layer of ragù, then a layer of béchamel sauce and finally a grating of parmesan. Repeat this until you have used up all of the ragù. Make sure to keep some béchamel sauce for the topping.

3. For the topping, place a layer of pasta sheets, followed by a layer of béchamel sauce. Finish with mozzarella and a generous grating of parmesan.

4. Cook in a preheated oven of 180 degrees celcius, until golden brown on top. Remove and leave to cool for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!