There is a lot to love about a classic lasagne, with oozing layers of delicious beef mince covered in tomato sauce and topped with cheese, it’s clear why this hearty meal is universally loved. Served with a crisp salad, it’s an all-in-one meal that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser and it tastes even better the following day. That’s if there’s any left!
Browning the beef
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan over medium heat. Cook the onion and celery, stirring, until vegetables soften. Add minced beef, then cook, breaking up the lumps with a wooden spoon, until the beef changes colour.
Making bolognese sauce
Stir garlic and tomato paste into the beef mixture, then cook for 1 minute. Add canned tomatoes and carrot, then oregano and stock, stirring until mixture is well combined. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat, then simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly.
Layering the lasagne
Spread ½ cup white sauce over base of the dish. Top with a layer of pasta sheets, a third of the bolognese sauce, ½ cup parmesan and 1 cup white sauce. Repeat layering two more times, starting with pasta sheets and ending with the remaining white sauce.
Making a flour-based paste
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, so it keeps its colour and doesn’t brown. Sprinkle the flour over melted butter, then stir well with a wooden spoon until the butter is incorporated and the mixture forms a smooth paste (this is called a roux).
Adding milk to the roux
For the white sauce, pour in half the milk, whisking continuously, into the roux until liquid is completely incorporated and starts to thicken. Add remaining milk in a thin steady stream, whisking vigorously until mixture is smooth.
Bring the white sauce to the boil; boil thoroughly so the mixture thickens. Reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, to cook out the raw taste of the flour. Leave to cook until ready to use.
Make bolognese sauce: Heat oil in large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat; cook onion and celery, stirring, for 10 minutes or until vegetables soften. Add beef; cook, breaking up the lumps with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until beef changes colour. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and carrot then oregano and stock; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly. Stir in parsley.
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Grease a deep 25cm x 35cm (10-inch x 14-inch) baking dish.
Make bechamel sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan, add flour; stir until mixture forms a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in milk; bring to the boil, whisking, until sauce boils and thickens. Cool.
Spread ½ cup of the white sauce over base of dish. Top with a layer of pasta sheets, a third of the bolognese sauce, ½ cup of the parmesan and 1 cup of the remaining white sauce in dish. Repeat layering two more times, starting with pasta sheets and ending with white sauce. Top lasagne with remaining cheese.
Bake lasagne for 40 minutes or until top is browned lightly. Stand for 15 minutes before cutting.
For extra richness try a combination of pork and veal mince, rather than just beef mince. Store bolognese sauce, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze portions in airtight containers for up to 3 monthNote