If you can make a good Bolognese sauce then you can make a good lasagne, and if you can make a good lasagne then strangely you’ll always find you have plenty of friends gathered round your dining table!
Lasagne is one of those quintessential dishes, comfort food at its best. Made with homemade lasagne sheets and slowly, lovingly cooked Bolognese sauce it truly is a dish which is hard to beat. I like to serve lasagne with a simple green salad, with the addition of some herbs and a bit of cucumber, dressed with a punchy mustard vinaigrette. The acidity of the salad contrasts beautifully with the richness of the lasagne.
Serves 6-8Bolognese sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 rashers streaky bacon, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
½ stick celery, finely chopped
1 kg beef mince
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh marjoram, stripped from the stalks and roughly chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup red wine
1 cup water
2 x 400g tins tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
1 onion, chopped into wedges
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the back of a knife
4 cups milk
300g of fresh egg pasta made into lasagne sheets
1. Place the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 20 minutes or so until fragrant. Add the bacon and carrot and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the mince and cook through, using the back of a wooden spoon to break it all up.
3. Pour in the wine and cook for several minutes until absorbed before adding the remaining ingredients. Cook over a low heat for 1-2 hours. The longer you cook the sauce the more developed the flavours will become. This is the most important part of the process – do not cut corners here!
1. Place the onions, garlic and milk into a saucepan and carefully bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
2. Strain the onion and garlic from the milk. Place the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat until completely melted. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for a minute or two over a medium heat.
3. Remove from the heat and in a slow steady stream add the milk to the flour, being sure to whisk continuously to avoid lumps.
4. Return to the heat and cook for approximately 20 minutes until the sauce thickens and sticks to the back of a wooden spoon.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C on bake.
2. Place a layer of the Bolognese sauce into a baking dish, lay over the lasagne sheets then top with béchamel sauce. Repeat this process until you have used up all the Bolognese sauce. Finish with a layer of pasta topped with a generous serve of béchamel sauce. Finally, sprinkle over a generous layer of parmesan cheese and cook in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until it is bubbling and the top is golden brown.