Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lasagna, plain and simple.

OK I know everyone has their own version of lasagna and this isn't a ground breaking, michelin star winning, deconstructed, evolved attempt or anything like that. It's just my lasagna.

However, this is one of my go to dishes when I'm feeling like I need a bit of comfort food. It's easy to put together when you have big group coming over and it's always a crowd pleaser.

Just by serving it with a simple rocket salad you can feed a lot of people for not a lot of money. Also it keeps/freezes very well.

Ingredients for Ragú (serves 8-10)
500g Minced beef
500g Minced pork
2 cans of plum tomatoes
1 large handful of Basil
Nutmeg (freshly grated, 10-12 shavings)
Chicken stock (500-600mls)
Red wine (1/2 a glass)
Red Onion finely diced
2 sticks of celery
2 cloves of garlic
Tomato purée (1 Tbs)
Lemon (Juice of one and half the zest)
Honey (1 Tbs)
Mushrooms (250g)
Chilli (finely diced, seeds and all)
2 Carrots sliced
Salt & Pepper
Oregano 2 tsp

The how too bit...
Soften the onion, celery, garlic (with salt) in some olive oil for 5min on a medium heat.Turn the heat up, add the red wine and let cook off. Turn heat back down to medium and add the meat. Brown the meat fully and let the fat cook off. Now add the tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, puree, chilli and mix around for a min or two. 
Add the chicken stock, lemon juice, zest and honey. Let this come to the boil and turn down to a simmer. Grate in the nutmeg (about 1/4 of a whole one) and add half the basil. Leave it to thicken and adjust the seasoning. This can take up to an hour. Make sure to keep an eye on it and stir it often.

While the ragú is thickening I normally make my béchamel sauce. For this you'll need, 

500mls of Milk 
Half an onion 
1 bay leaf 
7-8 whole peppercorns 
Fresh parsley 
40g of butter
40g of flour 

Warm your milk with the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, nutmeg and parsley in it. Let this infuse for 10min. While this is happening melt your butter in a sauce pan, before it browns sift in the flour and mix to make a roux. Once you've cooked the roux for a min begin to slowly add your flavoured milk. Keep stirring while you pour. Simmer and reduce the béchamel sauce until it's as thick as you like it. 

Once you have all your sauces ready it's a simple layering procedure. I only make my own pasta on special occasions I find the fresh pasta sheets available in most shops now is good enough for this. 


  1. Looks amazing, as a pastaphobe I'll make an exception and give it a go!

    You might like my friend Ed's cookery blog too:

  2. Plain and simple? why would you lie? it was deliciously dense with layers of flavour.

    MINE was plain and simple... but then it's supposed to be as I'm a dirty southerner.

  3. it looks fab Peter. but, for me, lasagna should *never* have béchamel near it. unless it's roasted veg lasagna.

  4. I'm a whore for béchamel I know. Actually when Pino makes lasagna he doesn't use béchamel he uses a combination of cheeses that's very delicious!