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(82 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 3 hrs, 10 mins Plus milk infusing


Serves 8

Little is more satisfying than cooking a classic to perfection - Sarah Cook gives us a lesson in how to make lasagne

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal794
  • fat38g
  • saturates17g
  • carbs63g
  • sugars16g
  • fibre4g
  • protein48g
  • salt2.74g
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    For the meat sauce

    • 3 tbsp olive oil
      olive oil

      Olive oil

      ol-iv oyl

      Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

    • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped



      A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

    • 1 onion, finely chopped



      Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

    • 1 carrot (about 100g/4oz) finely chopped



      The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 140g pack cubetti di pancetta



      Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly - the equivalent of streaky bacon. It has a deep, strong,…

    • 500g pack beef mince (we used 10% fat)



      The classic cut of meat for a British Sunday roast, beef is full of flavour, as well as being a…

    • 500g pack pork mince or British veal mince
    • 200ml milk



      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

    • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes



      A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 rosemary sprig



      Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…

    • 2 thyme sprigs


      This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

    • 2 tsp dried oregano



      Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

    • 2 beef stock cubes
    • 500ml red wine

    For the lasagne

    • about 400g dried pasta sheets



      Pasta is the Italian name for Italy's version of a basic foodstuff which is made in many…

    • 50g parmesan, finely grated



      Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

    For the white sauce (béchamel)

    • 1½ l milk



      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

    • 1 onion, thickly sliced



      Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

    • 3 bay leaves
    • 3 cloves



      The dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a wide variety…

    • 100g butter



      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 100g plain flour
    • good grating of nutmeg



      One of the most useful of spices for both sweet and savoury


    1. First infuse the milk to make the béchamel sauce. Put the milk, onion, bay and cloves into a large saucepan and bring very gently just up to the boil. Turn off the heat and set aside for 1 hr to infuse.

    2. For the meat sauce, put the oil, celery, onion, carrot, garlic and pancetta in another large saucepan. Gently cook together until the veg are soft but not coloured.

    3. Tip in all the mince, the milk and tomatoes. Using a wooden spoon, stir together and break up and mash the lumps of mince against the sides of the pan.

    4. When the mince is mostly broken down, stir in all the herbs, the stock cubes and wine, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hr, stirring occasionally to stop the bottom catching. Uncover and gently simmer for another 30 mins-1 hr until the meat is tender and saucy. Taste and season.

    5. To finish the béchamel sauce, strain the milk through a fine sieve into one or two jugs. Melt the butter in the same pan then, using a wooden spoon, mix in the flour and cook for 2 mins.

    6. Stir in the strained milk, a little at a time – the mix will thicken at first to a doughy paste, but keep going, adding milk gradually to avoid lumps. When all the milk is in, bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly (if you have lumps, give it a quick whisk). Gently bubble for a few mins until thickened. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

    7. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Spread a spoonful of the meat sauce over the base of a roughly 3.5 litre baking dish. Cover with a single layer of pasta sheets, snapping them to fit if needed, then top with a quarter of the béchamel. Spoon over a third of the meat sauce and scatter over a little Parmesan.

    8. Repeat the layers – pasta, béchamel, meat and Parmesan – two more times to use all the meat sauce. Add a final layer of pasta, the last of the béchamel and remaining Parmesan. Sit the dish on a baking tray to catch spills and bake for 1 hr until bubbling, browned and crisp on top.

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    Comments, questions and tips

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    16th Mar, 2015
    I followed the recipe without omitting any of the ingredients or steps. My ragu simmered for an hour with the lid on and an hour without, what I was left with was a beautiful ragu that was not watery at all or soggy as some have experienced. I added a couple of dry red chillis to it before simmering for a little warmth in flavour. It turned out beautifully with lots of good flavour and a sumptuous lasagna.
    7th Feb, 2015
    This was such a disappointment, would really recommend not bothering unless you're going to change the recipe - there are many tastier ones out there! Mince definitely needs browning, leave out the milk entirely and more tomato elements would give it some flavour... Took a lot of time for bland, soggy result.
    20th Jan, 2015
    I made some changes to this recipe after reading some reviews. Firstly didn't use milk in meat sauce. When I added the meat to onions etc I let it brown - added wine first and let it evaporate - then added tomato purée, tomato cans, herbs, instead of stock cubes I used 450ml of liquid beef stock. Also I simmered for 1hr uncovered and 30mins covered. Turned out really well, would make it again.
    24th Oct, 2014
    I have done this recipe twice and it was wonderful! I just follow all the instructions and was delicious. :D
    30th Sep, 2014
    Definitely won't be making this again. The meat sauce lacked flavour and was very thin even after an extra 2 hours of cooking. The end result did not look anything like the picture it fell apart and look a sloppy mess
    31st Aug, 2014
    There's no argument, lasagne is a faff to make - and this is no exception. I agree with the comments below about there being too much milk (I had to start the flour/butter process again to make it thicker). It tasted fine - but I was hoping it would taste amazing after all the effort, and for that reason alone I probably wouldn't make it again.
    28th Jul, 2014
    Great recipe! I increased the amount of carrots and omitted the celery. However I need to increase the amount of liquid as my gluten free lasagne was rather tough and hard. The rest was suberb. The recipe might have taken a while but there was nothing very arduous and the results were worth it.
    16th Jul, 2014
    The meat sauce certainly benefited from being simmered and reduced for a good amount of time. Although the wine initially made the dish rather boozy, after the sauce has been reduced it became part of the depth of flavour of the dish. Could try again. In all, quite a tasty dish
    9th Jun, 2014
    I made this yesterday though without the bechamel - I used a ready made white sauce as the cost of ingredients was already high without cloves, bay leaves and nutmeg which I didn't have. I did NOT put 500ml of red wine in! I reluctantly put 250ml in and to be honest, the liquid consistency was already at a worryingly watery level so it didn't need more (which suited my desire to part with it!). If I made it again, I would brown the mince, it just felt wrong when it was all floating raw in the milk. Half of the family loved it, half not (the kids) I think it was too meaty and too rich for them. The second draw back is the time it took, but I suppose good things come to those who wait! (or don't if you are my kids!)
    24th Oct, 2014
    So, you haven't done the recipe. I can understand why wasn't a success.


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