Prep time: 25 mins. Oven time: 40 mins.
There’s something about a good lasagna that makes me want to sing: delicious, comforting and you can eat it curled up on the sofa with a fork – it’s the perfect comfort food!
I’ve tried lots of different lasagna recipes and, as often happens, the best recipe actually came from a friend rather than a cookbook. I’ve fiddled and adapted it until I’m completely happy and this is my basic recipe:
You will need:
For the Bolognese sauce:
- 500g minced beef
- 1 onion chopped
- A small punnet of mushrooms
- 4 rashers of bacon
- 1 garlic clove (or a splash of garlic oil)
- 1 pack of passata (approx 500g)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 stock cube (I use beef OXO but any will do)
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- A splash of Worcestershire sauce or red wine (optional)
- 800ml milk (or 725ml milk and 75ml double cream for a luxury version)
- 75g butter
- 50g flour
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- Lasagna sheets (the kind you don’t have to pre-cook)
- Grated parmesan
Fry the onions, garlic and bacon in a splash of olive oil until the onion is clear and the bacon is a bit crispy. Add minced beef and cook until browned.
At this stage, you can drain any excess fat off by just tipping the mixture into a sieve for a minute or so. Then return to the pan and add the mushrooms, passata and other ingredients. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes.
While the Bolognese sauce is simmering preheat your oven to 180 degrees and make the white sauce. In a saucepan melt the butter, then add the flour and mix well until you get a paste. Then add the milk and nutmeg and whisk whilst heat gently. It starts off a bit lumpy but soon sorts out and turns into a nice thick sauce. I use one of those mini spiral whisks – it seems to be more effective than a big balloon whisk.
Assemble your lasagna: start with a layer of Bolognese, then lasagna sheets (careful not to overlap them), then white sauce, then repeat ending with a layer of white sauce.
Sprinkle with parmesan and freshly ground pepper and put in the oven for about 30 minutes. Yum!
Cheats and tips:
- For a quick Bolognese you can use left overs after a sunday roast to make a delicous and quick lasagna. Cook the onions. Blitz your left overs in a food processor (left over beef or lamb along with any veggies – carrots and broccoli work great – but anything will do apart from potatoes!). Then add passata, herbs etc and cook for about 1o minutes.
- Use a shop-bought white sauce (a good one, not a packet-mix) – it’s more expensive but is quick and does save on washing up!
- If you’re feeding fussy children who pick out vegetables just blitz the bolognese with one of those hand-held blenders before assembling the lasagna – they won’t know how many veggies you’ve slipped in there…