We are all true lasagne lovers in this house. Love the rich flavor, the soft, melting texture, the wonderful aroma as it is gently cooking away in the oven. A great dish for the young and old, even young toddlers, for any occasion.

What I like most about is being able to make it as a quick midweek meal, with a tiny bit of planning ahead. I almost always double the Bolognese recipe below and freeze half. Then just quickly make the
Béchamel sauce while the oven preheats, put it together with the defrosted sauce and oven ready sheets, then pop it in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. You could also freeze the Béchamel sauce but it only takes minutes to make so it never seemed like a huge time saver to me.

For the Bolognese sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 125 gr. button mushrooms, chopped
  • 500 gr. minced beef
  • 300 ml dry red or white wine OR 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 300 ml homemade stock
  • 500 gr. tomatoes, grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

In a large, wide pan sauté the onion, carrot and celery stick for 5′. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for another minute. Then add the beef and brown over a high heat. Add the wine, then add the tomato paste, tomatoes, thyme and season. Simmer gently covered for an hour or until the sauce is reduced. Stir in the parsley.

For the Béchamel sauce

  • 1 l milk
  • 3 onion slices
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 4 tbsps flour
  • Salt & pepper
  • Nutmeg

Pour the milk into a saucepan with the onion slices, peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring almost to the boil, remove from heat and leave to infuse for about 20 minutes. Strain.
For the roux, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute until cooked but not coloured.
Remove from the heat and gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Season lightly.
Return to the heat and cook stirring until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Simmer very gently for a couple of minutes.

For the Lasagne

  • 12-15 sheets oven ready pasta sheets
  • 3 tbsp of Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat the oven. Spoon a third of the Bolognese sauce over the base of a greased flameproof dish. cover with a layer of pasta, then a layer of sauce. Repeat the layers twice more, finishing with a layer of of white sauce to cover the lasagne completely. Sprinkle over the Parmesan then bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

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