It’s a bold claim, but we’ve been told this time and time again…. This is the best lasagne I’ve ever tasted. Granted it takes a bit of effort but you can freeze it once assembled (before you put it in the oven – just let it defrost before you put it in) or you can leave it in the fridge a few days before cooking it (make it on a sunday when you have time and eat it on a tuesday night as a treat). It can also be frozen in portions once cooked.
The Bolognese sauce is adapted from a recipe by John Burton Race. It’s great on it’s own with spaghetti but making a bechamel sauce and turning it into a lasagne makes it extra special. Don’t be surprised by how few ingredients are in there…. it is simple but delicious!
For a massive lasagne (feeds at least 8) and some leftover Bolognese sauce, you will need:
For the Bolognese sauce
- 2 medium onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 kg minced beef
- 1 sprig of rosemary and a few sprigs of thyme
- half a tube of tomato puree
- 150 ml red wine
- 250 g mushrooms
- 2 tins tomatoes
- 300 ml beef stock
For the Bechamel sauce
- 1.2 L whole milk
- 1 medium onion studded with a few cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 120 g plain flour
- 120 g butter
- 70 g parmesan cheese
- Dried lasagne sheets
Bolognese Sauce: Chop the onions and garlic and cook gently in olive oil in a large pot. Then add the minced beef, a sprig of rosemary and a few sprigs of thyme. Brown the mince. Add the tomato puree and the red wine. Allow the wine to bubble off for a minute or two before adding the chopped mushrooms, tinned tomatoes and beef stock. Simmer for 45 mins. Season with salt & pepper.
For a tasty dinner for very little ones, you can take out a ladle full of the mix before adding the stock. Instead just add water to this and cook off in a smaller pan. This removes any salt from the recipe and is great with chopped up spaghetti.
Bechamel: Heat the milk with the onion, cloves, nutmeg and bay leaf until just before it starts to boil, then remove from the heat and allow the flavours of the onion etc to infuse into the milk for up to 20 mins if possible. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour to form a paste. Then add the warm milk slowly, whisking at the same time until you form a smooth white sauce. Don’t panic if it goes lumpy, just keep adding the milk slowly while beating with the whisk. Turn the heat back on and cook gently for 3-5 minutes before adding all but a handful of the grated parmesan.
Grease a large lasagne dish using butter (ours is 12 x 10 inches) and put layers of the bolognese, dried lasagne sheets and bechamel sauce on top. Finish with a layer of bechamel and a handful of grated parmesan
Bake for 45 minutes at 180C