Classic Italian lasagne

Classic Italian lasagne

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(15 ratings)

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 50 mins

More effort

Serves 6 - 8

Theo Randall shares his authentic Italian lasagne recipe, with a creamy béchamel sauce and classic defined layers. Everyone's favourite family meal

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving (8)

  • kcal729
  • fat42g
  • saturates23g
  • carbs38g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre2g
  • protein45g
  • salt0.6g


  • 250g pack fresh lasagne sheets
  • olive oil, for greasing
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

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

  • large handful grated parmesan



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

For the ragu

  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped



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

  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 25g dried porcini, soaked for 10 mins in hot water, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked and chopped



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

  • 1kg trimmed beef or veal flank, finely chopped (ask your butcher to do this for you)



    The classic choice of meat for a British Sunday roast. Beef is full of flavour, as…

  • 125ml dry white wine
  • 400g can good-quality chopped tomatoes

For the béchamel sauce

  • 1l full-fat milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 125g ‘00’ pasta flour
  • good grating of nutmeg



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

  • 100g parmesan, finely grated



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

  • 2 egg yolks


  1. For the ragu, melt the butter in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat until foaming. Add the celery, carrot, onion, porcini, rosemary and some seasoning, and fry for 5 mins.

  2. Season the meat, add to the dish and cook for 5 mins until browned. Pour in the wine, add the tomatoes and bring to the boil.

  3. Reduce the heat to low, put the lid on the dish and cook for 1hr 30 mins, removing the lid for the final 30 mins so the sauce can reduce. The meat should be tender but not too broken up, and the sauce should be thick. Taste for seasoning. You can cook it for longer if you have time - the flavour will only improve.

  4. For the béchamel sauce, pour the milk into a saucepan with the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat and set aside. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat, then whisk in the flour and hot milk. Whisk vigorously until smooth, then cook for 10-15 mins until very thick. Remove the bay leaf and season, grating in nutmeg to taste. Stir in the parmesan and egg yolks, then set aside to cool.

  5. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Working in batches of three, plunge the pasta sheets into a pan of boiling salted water for 20 secs, just to soften, then immediately put in a bowl of ice-cold water.

  6. Rub oil onto the base and sides of a large baking dish. Put a layer of pasta on the base, then add a layer of ragu, followed by a layer of béchamel sauce. A good tip, for really defined layers, is to pipe the béchamel sauce over.

  7. Repeat this process until you have used all the pasta and ragu, and finish with a layer of béchamel sauce on top. Sprinkle the top with a generous layer of parmesan.

  8. Bake in the oven for 40-45 mins or until bubbling and golden brown, then remove from the oven and leave to settle for 10 mins.

  9. Cut the lasagne into squares and let it sit for another 10 mins before serving – this keeps the layers defined and helps it cool down more quickly.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Ciaran M
17th Sep, 2018
Excellent recipe!
Katarzyna Skóra's picture
Katarzyna Skóra
21st Jul, 2018
The best lasagne recipe we tried so far. Tastes exactly like a lasagne in one of our favourite Italian restaurants. We highly recommend you try this.
3rd Apr, 2017
Excellent recipe bechamel sauce ever! Does take time but well worth it! Tip: Baked it for 45 minutes then just set it on 'grill' for 5 minutes to get a nice toasted roasted top!
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Jonathan Baker-Bates's picture
Jonathan Baker-Bates
21st Jul, 2020
The recipe makes a *very* thick bechamel sauce, so you may need to add more milk if you can't pipe it or you'll get very uneven layers layers of sauce.
17th Feb, 2019
If you have time to cook the ragu for longer and want to make it dark and dangerous, mix a generous jug of beef stock then pour a mug's worth into the ragu. Leave the lid off. Let it reduce right down, then add more. Repeat until your jug of stock is empty.
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