3. Lasagne al forno


2-3 tbsp Olive oil
25g Butter
2 large Onions, finely chopped
3 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 Carrots, finely diced
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1kg freshly ground fatty beef, such as chuck
2 fresh bay leaves
225ml Milk
1/3 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
225ml White wine, 225
400g tinned plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
9-10 sheets pre-cooked dried lasagne
90g Parmesan, freshly grated
salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the béchamel sauce:
600ml Milk
2 fresh bay leaves
1 onion, halved
freshly grated nutmeg


1. Warm the oil and butter in a heavy-based casserole over medium heat. Add the onion and gently fry for about 5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the celery, carrots and garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring to coat well.

2. Stir in the beef with a large pinch of salt and several grindings of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the beef has lost its raw pink look.

3. Add the bay leaves and milk, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the meat has absorbed the milk. Season with a pinch of nutmeg.

4. Pour in the wine and let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes with their juice and stir thoroughly.

5. Cook, uncovered, at a lazy simmer with just an intermittent bubble breaking through the surface, for 3 hours or more. The fat will have separated, but the sauce will not be dry. Taste and correct the seasoning.

6. About 45 minutes before the meat is ready, make the béchamel sauce. Pour the milk into a saucepan with the bay leaf, onion and a generous pinch of nutmeg. Bring to just below the boiling point, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15-20 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Grease a shallow baking dish.

8. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Strain the milk, then gradually stir it into the flour mixture to make a thick smooth sauce. Season to taste.

9. Pour some béchamel into the baking dish - enough to just cover the base. Place a layer of lasagne sheets on top, followed by a layer of meat sauce, another layer of béchamel and a good handful of Parmesan. Continue with two or three more layers until both sauces are used up. Add a final sprinkling of Parmesan.

10. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until bubbling all over and a knife slips easily through the layers of lasagne.60g Butter
60g plain flour
salt and fresh ground black pepper