Lasagne in a dish with slice out


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

    • 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…

    • 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…

    • 1 onion, thickly sliced



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

    • 3 bay leaves
    • 3 cloves



      A clove is the dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a…

    • 100g butter



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 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 1 ½ litres milk, 1 thickly sliced onion, 3 bay leaves and 3 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 3 tbsp oil, 2 finely chopped celery sticks, 1 finely chopped onion, 1 finely chopped carrot, 3 crushed garlic cloves and 140g cubed pancetta in another large saucepan. Gently cook together until the veg are soft but not coloured.

    3. Tip in 500g pork mince and 500g beef mince, 200ml milk and 2 cans of chopped 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 2 bay leaves, 1 rosemary sprig, 2 thyme sprigs, 2 tsp dried oregano, 2 beef stock cubes and 500ml red wine, and bring to a simmer.

    5. Cover and cook for 1 hr, stirring occasionally to stop the bottom catching.

    6. Uncover and gently simmer for another 30 mins-1 hr until the meat is tender and saucy. Taste and season.

    7. To finish the béchamel sauce, strain the milk through a fine sieve into one or two jugs.

    8. Melt 100g butter in the same pan then, using a wooden spoon, mix in 100g plain flour and cook for 2 mins.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    11. Season with salt, pepper and a good grating of nutmeg.

    12. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

    13. Spread a spoonful of the meat sauce over the base of a roughly 3.5 litre baking dish.

    14. Cover with a single layer of dried 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 of the finely grated parmesan.

    15. 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.

    16. 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

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    Annie Dickens's picture
    Annie Dickens
    20th Jun, 2020
    Best lasagne I've ever tasted and my partner agreed - we had it with homemade garlic bread and salad. I'd never heard of infusing the Bechamel, but it really makes a BIG difference to the flavour. So does sprinkling each layer with parmesan. Will definitely be making again.
    20th May, 2020
    You need to start prep early, but it's worth it! I made this yesterday, but made the mistake of not starting til 3.30pm and wanted it for tea! I ended up giving the meat sauce a total of 1 hour cooking time rather than the 1.5-2 hours. It didn't matter because it was delicious and full of flavour. I was cooking for 4 so halved the recipe, and used 330g beef mince as the only meat. I didn't have celery, but used up the half courgette I had in the fridge instead. Infusing the milk for the béchamel sauce added SO much flavour and is something I would do again even making a quicker version. The combination was a real hit, and we had clean plates all round (bar the very picky 7 year old!!!). It's not a 'weeknight dinner' as it takes a long time to make, but is one I would certainly do again for a special occasion.
    Lee Sloan's picture
    Lee Sloan
    27th Apr, 2020
    right where to start, one you don't layer the bechamel on every layer! that is not traditional, it only goes on top, in fact my brother in laws mum( who is from italy RIP) said you shouldn't even use white sauce, is should just havecheese on top. and why are you putting milk in with the meat? if you want to make this recipe better , reduce the amount of wine use passata instead of tinned tomatoes, use more herbs i recommend Italian herbs mix and add a Tsp of sugar to reduce the bitterness of the tomatoes, Ideally i make this in the morning before going to work in the slow cooker then in the evening i make the bechamel and buld the dish then and bake then the ragu is cooked to perfection and you don't need to slave in the kitchen for hours on end. Speaking as a chef of many years and now a food tech teacher this recipe is awful and i wouldn't even try it .
    Laura Wood's picture
    Laura Wood
    12th Jan, 2020
    Too juicy and a considerable amount of extra faff to make this lasagne. I'll go back to my usual guestimate method, works much better. I was curious about including pork mince and pancetta... not worth it! Full on beef is much tastier.
    Giz Rig
    28th Oct, 2019
    In response to Graham Milligan (Mr Underwhelmed), We spent the bulk of the morning trying this recipe and we are only half disappointed. The meat was very tasty. You could taste all the ingredients. However our disappointment was the topping! It was too plain you couldn't taste the nutmeg, or the cheese. So regarding your warning about pushing the boat out and being disappointed... we would comment that you are half right!
    booo242's picture
    26th Jul, 2019
    Good Recipe!! I want recommed one more Delicious Lasagna cooking Method! Here - No Boil Lasagna)) Really tasty!)
    poodlequeen's picture
    31st Mar, 2019
    I really loved the recipe, although used a different sauce with only beef mince. It worked in a deeper round tin as well as I didn't have one the right size. Everyone loved it! I have used this recipe many a time and will continue to.
    Rachel Wattie's picture
    Rachel Wattie
    1st Mar, 2019
    Yum. I crumbled some chorizo sausage meat into it instead of the prosciutto, to spice it up a bit. The béchamel sauce was delicious, even though I didn't have bay leaves. Takes a bit of time so make sure you have a couple of hours up your sleeve. Will make again.
    13th Jan, 2019
    A very good lasagne recipe. I received lots of compliments for the béchamel sauce, which turned out perfectly.
    Graham Milligan's picture
    Graham Milligan
    16th Dec, 2018
    I was unfortunately very underwhelmed with this recipe and its outcome. I had the day off and decided to try my hand at a recipe that would demand more of my time but would blow my little taste buds off at the other end. I was positively disappointed with the end result - Not only was the bulk of my afternoon gone but after splashing a bit of extra cash getting a nice red wine etc. this lasagne didn't really taste all that different or better than any other recipes I've used. I have been much more impressed with recipes from the likes of Netmums which have appeared to be foolproof and take a fraction of the time! I am more than happy to call it bad luck and maybe on another day or in another kitchen it would have worked better - but to those first timers looking to push the boat out like I did I would err on the side of caution.


    maggiebleksley's picture
    7th Mar, 2019
    Why is milk included in the meat sauce?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    11th Mar, 2019
    Thanks for your question. Milk is actually a traditional ingredient in some Italian ragu and adds a smooth finish.
    Jermaine Carty's picture
    Jermaine Carty
    26th Sep, 2018
    Unsure whether you're meant to brown mince or not before adding it to the ingredients?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    3rd Oct, 2018
    Hi Jermaine, thanks for your question. No, you do not need to brown the mince. We will always state in our recipes if an extra step is needed.
    shikiraclare's picture
    23rd Jul, 2017
    Forgot to mention - no red wine is added to my lasagne - 'burly beefy' kind of flavour only needs gravy granules and complimentary spices. Wine is a fab accompaniment to large joints of connoisseur meats, yet mince meat has most of its 'beef element' sucked out of it during factory process and why it is such a difficult one to flavour in any kind of rich tasty cuisine.
    shikiraclare's picture
    23rd Jul, 2017
    The great thing about Lasagne is that you can 'quirk it' up so easily with almost anything and although mince beef is the basic staple ingredient (apart from pasta itself) - always bulk it with lentils and grated carrot so that you get a wholly nutritious dish as well as save a fortune on meat - you can't even taste the difference if you are a real meaty lover and follow my tips here: 6 ounces of mince beef with 12 ounces lentils will make a meal for 4 if you also add two grated carrots, chopped celery - any other vegetable going spare in your fridge. The trick to the 'meatier' tasting lasagne is to always sprinkle gravy granules in the tomato based sauce - stock alone doesn't give any kind of meat the burly beef flavour some people like in their favourite meals. Gravy granules also stops beefy sauces getting too runny and tomato puree (also not very good) as a thickening agent. Another great tip for my lasagne is to add some paprika spice and a little sweet-chilli sauce if you prefer a more tomato-exotic taste.
    18th Oct, 2015
    This is the base recipe for my now famous lasagne. I never measure anything and always change recipes to suit the taste and my own opinion. Having said that it may be why so many people seem to have failed with this one! Firstly, definitely brown the meat, (I only use lean beef mince) add a splash or so of red wine, let it evaporate so the meat and veg mix is really rich, then add stock and tomatoes and purée. I don't add thyme as I don't think it adds much overall. I definitely do not add milk here either, sounded really odd and I think would ruin the dish. I usually add a couple of flicks of Worcestershire sauce here too. I then leave it uncovered and stir regularly. One the sauce has thickened and reduced, take off from the heat and leave to stand for fifteen minutes as it will become a lot less sloppy if that's an issue. I generally guess the amount of milk and it usually turns out fine; I think the recipe probably has too much but just remember 'you can add but you can't take away' and you should be fine! I also let my lasagne stand for fifteen twenty minutes before serving as it helps it keep its shape and stays warm! I'm also cheeky and add cheddar and mozzarella to each layer, so not very healthy but very delicious!! :)
    shikiraclare's picture
    23rd Jul, 2017
    Wine is a fab accompaniment to large joints of connoisseur meats, yet mince meat has most of its 'beef element' sucked out of it during factory process and why it is such a difficult one to flavour in any kind of rich tasty cuisine.
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