no creative name for this dish, because why would you mess with such a classically stunning dish.
comfort food on a cold winters night, pure satisfaction alongside a deep red wine… whatever the circumstance, this dish is hard to beat.
yea, it takes a lot of time, and this recipe is no exception….. but its worth the effort. dont rush it – it just wont be the same. make it with love and enjoy every minute, otherwise dont do it.
i break the effort up by doing the bolagnaise the day before… that means it rests over night, intensifying the flavours even more and the bonus is less work the next day.
serves 4 – generously (leftovers the next day right?)
for the bolagnaise
1 large carrot – finely diced
1 large celery stalk – finely diced
1 large brown onion – finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
400gm beef mince
200gm pork mince
100gm streaky bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 tblsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 cups beef stock (i use simon gaults – its the best available, it looks expensive but it goes a long way!)
1 cup red wine
1 cup milk
1 tblsp rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
for the bechamel
2 tblsp butter
2 tblsp flour
1 bay leaf (optional)
2 cups milk
for the pasta
1 1/2 cups 00 flour
7 egg yolks
if you arent making your own pasta, use store bought lasagna sheets
pre heat oven to 180 deg.
for the bolagnaise
put the diced carrots, celery, onion and garlic in the bottom of a large saucepan with some oil. season. cook to soften.
in another frypan, add some oil and bring to high heat. once hot, season the pork mince and add to the frypan (dont break it up yet!) fry until browned, and then turn over as if its a burger pattie.
once brown on both sides, remove from pan and add the beef mince. repeat the browning of both sides.
by this time, the vegetables should be softened. add the minces to the pot and stir, breaking up the mince in the process.
add the smoked paprika, oregano, worcestershire sauce, bay leaf and cinnamon stick and stir to mix.
add the beef stock (if using simon gaults mix up with water as per instructions), red wine, and canned tomatoes (breaking up the tomatos as you add them to the pot.
bring to the boil and then leave to simmer, covered for 2 hours.
after 2 hours, if you are doing it the day before you are assembling the lasagne, cover and leave overnight.
otherwise, add the milk and take the lid off. turn the heat up and reduce until thick and the excess liquid has gone (this could take an hour or so)
add the vinegar.
taste and season if necessary. reserve until ready to assemble.
for the bechamel
add the butter and flour to the saucepan, over a gentle flame, allow the butter to melt while stirring. ensure you keep stirring otherwise you may brown the flour.
(many recipes ask you to melt the butter then add the flour however i have found adding them both at the same time, starts the cooking process of the flour earlier, and it saves having that horrible “raw flour” taste in the sauce – BUT use the traditional method if you are a bit worried)
once butter is melted, keep stirring for about 3-4 minutes until the flour has mainly cooked off.
add the slightly warmed milk and keep stirring until thickened.
reserve until ready to assemble.
for the homemade pasta
add the flour to a food processor. while the blades are turning, add the eggs until the dough starts to come together.
tip the dough out onto a kitchen bench and bring together into a ball. wrap in glad wrap and move to the fridge until ready to roll out.
if making your own pasta, roll out to the desired thickness (i use the second to last otherwise its too thin…. the bolagnaise needs a robust pasta otherwise you dont get the texture or even know the pasta exists!)
place each sheet of homemade pasta sheets in boiling water for about 1 minute or so each. dont cook it in the water as it will cook through properly in the oven.
if you are using store bought lasagne sheets, you should be ready to go with the pasta straight out of the packet (check the instructions on the packet to make sure)
now you are ready to assemble!
layer the lasagne by placing the beef down first, top with the pasta, then the bechamel. repeat until you get to the top of your dish – the final layer should be the bechamel. top the bechamel with grated parmesan.
place in the oven for 25mins (if you are using home made pasta)
check the packet for store bought pasta – it should let you know how long it needs in the oven before the pasta is cooked al dente.
once cooked, leave to sit for 5 minutes and then cut and serve.