17. Lasagne 1970s style


Olive oil:
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g salami, or bacon, minced or finely chopped
1kg minced beef
2 tbsp tomato puree
3 tsp dried oregano
2* 400g plum tomatoes, chopped
150ml beef stock, (use instant)
60g Butter
70g plain flour
600ml whole milk
freshly grated nutmeg
250g no-cook lasagne pasta sheets
block Parmesan
100g mozzarella cheese, grated


1. There are two sauces and some layering up to be done, so get everything ready and then you can assemble. You'll need a 20cm by 30cm shallow baking dish (or similar), inside lightly greased with oil.

2. To make the rag├╣ sauce, gently fry the onion and garlic in a wide pan in 2 tbsp oil until softened but not coloured. Tip the salami or bacon in along with the minced beef and stir though, breaking up any clumps of mince. If you've bought a pack of supermarket mince, watch you don't tip the blotting-paper-like wadding attached to the mince's underside into the pan. (How many times have I done that?) Let it fry, moving it around from time to time, for about 4 minutes or until it's faintly browned all over - it will, however, look more an unfortunate grey than brown. Next, season it, then add the tomato puree, oregano, chopped tomatoes and stock. Bring to a good bubble, and let it gently cook for about 20 minutes. It should be thick, gorgeously red, and not watery.

3. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and let it foam a bit, then slowly add the milk, stirring all the time. Keep stirring over a gentle heat until it thickens and bubbles. Grate in a good shower of nutmeg, add some salt and pepper and stir it through, then remove from the heat.

4. To assemble and bake, spread about a quarter of the meat sauce across the base of the prepared dish, then cover this with a layer of lasagne sheets. Spread this with the thinnest layer of white sauce and grate over some Parmesan. Cover this with more pasta, and do the same again with white sauce and Parmesan. Now, go back to the meat, and spoon in and spread out evenly another quarter of it. Top again with three pasta, white sauce and Parmesan layers. Continue to the top until everything is used up, finishing with a thicker layer of white sauce and then scatter the grated mozzarella all over the top. Slide the dish on the top shelf of a 190°C/ 375°C/ Gas 5 oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the pasta inside is cooked and the top molten and golden. Eat with a green salad.