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Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
800g lean minced beef
200ml red wine, or extra stock
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
500ml beef stock (fresh or made with 1 beef stock cube)
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp cold water
18–24 dried egg lasagne sheets (roughly 450g)
flaked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cheese sauce:
100g butter
100g plain flour
1 litre semi-skimmed or whole milk
200g mature Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
flaked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

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Deep-Filled Lasagne

SERVES: 12 (Makes 2 lasagnes serving 6)

Bought lasagnes never seem large or deep enough, so if you have a big family or a few to feed, it’s always best to make your own. Making lasagne can take a while but it’s easy to double up the ingredients, so I always make two; bake one now and freeze the other. This recipe has layers of rich Bolognese and a creamy sauce with cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan or flame-proof casserole and fry the onions and garlic with the bay leaves over a low heat for about 5 minutes until well softened, stirring regularly. Increase the heat a little, add the mince and cook for a further 10 minutes, using 2 wooden spoons to break up the meat.

Stir in the wine followed by the tomatoes, tomato purée, beef stock, sugar and oregano. Season well with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes,  stirring occasionally until the mince is tender and the sauce has reduced to a similar consistency to Bolognese.

In a small bowl, mix together the cornflour and water to form a smooth paste and stir into the Bolognese. Cook for 4–5 minutes more until the sauce thickens further, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and pick out and discard the bay leaves. Cover loosely and leave to stand.

To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large non-stick saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook over a low heat for about 30 seconds, while stirring. Gradually add the milk to the pan, stirring constantly between each addition. Increase the heat a little and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 150g of the Cheddar cheese and simmer for a further 1–2 minutes, while stirring until the cheese melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide around a third of the mince mixture between 2 lasagne dishes. They will need to be around 24cm square or hold roughly 2 litres of liquid. Cover with a layer of lasagne, snapping off the bits that don’t fit snugly. Repeat the layers twice  more, using up all the mince and ending with the pasta. Divide the cheese sauce between the lasagnes and spread gently to the corners. Mix the remaining Cheddar and Parmesan together and sprinkle over the top.

To cook now, bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 for 35–40 minutes until nicely browned and bubbling.

 

To FREEZE (up to 3 months):

Allow the unbaked lasagnes to cool completely. Cover with foil, label and freeze. If using silicone pans, open freeze then flip out of the containers once solid and double wrap in foil. Label and freeze.

To SERVE:

To cook from thawed, thaw overnight in the fridge, uncover and bake for 40–45 minutes until hot throughout.

To cook from frozen, uncover and place the lasagne into a suitable baking dish if necessary. Place on a baking tray and cover loosely with foil. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/Fan 180°C Gas 6 for 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue to bake for a further 45 –55 minutes or until nicely browned and hot throughout. Add an extra 10–15 minutes to the cooking time if cooking both lasagnes at the same time.