Wednesday 23 March 2011

The Best Ever Lasagne Recipe

The Best Ever Lasagne
I have tried so many different lasagne recipes over the years, and have now perfected the ULTIMATE Lasagne recipe!!
Serves 4-6


Tomato Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
½ fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped
1 x star anise
2 x bay leaves
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp caster sugar
Freshly ground salt & pepper

Meat Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
70g diced pancetta
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
500g lean minced beef
2 tbsp tomato puree
375ml red wine
200ml beef stock
3 sprigs of oregano, leaves removed and chopped
2 bay leaves
Pinch of caster sugar
Freshly ground salt & pepper

Cheese Sauce
75g butter
3 heaped tbsp plain flour
1 ½ pints/ ¾ litre of milk
2 heaped tsp mustard
Freshly ground salt & pepper
250g mature cheddar cheese, grated

12 sheets fresh lasagne
235g mozzarella cheese, sliced
Grated parmesan topping


1.  Firstly make the tomato sauce.  Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the onion, garlic and chilli and fry over a gentle heat until lightly golden.  Add the fresh and chopped tomatoes.  When the tomatoes begin to release their juices add the sugar, thyme, star anise, splash of Worcestershire sauce and season to taste.

2.  Cook over a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes until the tomato sauce is reduced and thick.  Remove the bay leaves and star anise and set aside.

3.  Meanwhile make the meat sauce.  Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan or wok.  Fry the pancetta until golden and then add the onion, carrot, garlic and celery and sauté for 3-5 minutes until soft but not coloured.

4.  Add the beef and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the meat is browned.  Add the tomato puree and stir for 1 minute then add the red wine.  Reduce the liquid slowly over a gentle heat until thick.  Do not allow to boil so that the meat can fully absorb the wine.

5.  Add the ready prepared tomato sauce and beef stock, oregano, bay leaves, sugar and season to taste.  Let the sauce cook for 1½ - 2 hours on a low heat with the lid on.  Once cooked remove the bay leaves.

6.  Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.

7.  To make the cheese sauce melt the butter in a large heavy based pan, remove from the heat and add the flour.  Replace the pan on to a low heat and gradually add the milk whilst continuously whisking.  Once all the milk is in the sauce add the mustard continuously stir the sauce until it starts to thicken.  Add the cheese and then season to taste.

8.  Now it is time to construct the lasagne.  Spoon a fine layer of meat sauce on the base of the lasagne dish then place 3 lasagne sheets on top.  Spoon a third of the meat sauce on top of the sheets and add 3 spoonfuls of cheese sauce and a third of the mozzarella slices.  Repeat this step twice more and then add another layer of lasagne sheets.  Add the remainder of the cheese sauce and sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan.

9.  Place lasagne dish in the oven for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.  Turn off the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes.  The lasagne is now ready to serve!

Cooks Tips
v  You can prepare the Bolognese sauce the day before; this will give it extra time for all the flavours to marinade.

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