Lasagne is one of the best Italian dishes when it is made properly. Forget those congealed dull squares you see in delis and supermarkets – here is a full-on authentic lasagne that you will make over and over again.
For the ragu sauce:
450g good quality beef or pork mince (preferably a mixture of both)
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 small carrot, chopped finely
1 stick of celery, sliced finely
1 tin of tomatoes
1 stalk of rosemary and 2 stalks of sage or 8 basil leaves
Virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 glass of dry white wine
1 box of lasagne sheets
1 quantity of white sauce (see recipe on this site)
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Serves 4-6 (4 when served on its own. Serves 6 with a salad and garlic bread).
Preheat the oven to 200º Centigrade/370º Fahrenheit /Gas Mark 6.
1. Brown the chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic in 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over gentle heat. It will take about 10-12 minutes. Add the salt and pepper.
2. Add the meat and brown it well, stirring to make sure all the meat hits the heat.
3. Add half the wine and reduce until the meat is almost dry again.
4. Put the tomatoes in a bowl and break down with a fork. Add whatever herbs you are using. Add to the meat.
5. Now, add the rest of the wine, stir with a wooden spoon and turn the heat down so that the sauce is bubbling gently. Cook, stirring occasionally for an hour and a half, longer if you have the time. Add water if you find it is getting dry.
6. Make the white sauce keeping it a little loose and fluid.
7. Take a square baking dish, smear white sauce on the bottom, line with lasagne sheets, breaking them to make an even layer with no overlapping. Add a layer of ragu sauce and top with a layer of white sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, keeping enough for the next layers. (You'll have to judge it by eye as dishes differs in size.) Repeat another one or two layers, if you have enough sauce and lasagne sheets, finishing with a layer of lasagne sheets topped with white sauce and cheese.
8. Bake for 40 minutes. Stick a fork in and if you feel a bit of resistence, bake it for another 10 minutes.
9. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad.
Cook's note: To get a firmer lasagne, you can leave out the white sauce completely and end with a top layer of tomato sauce, which you make seperately. This would be good for anyone who is allergic to dairy.