Sunday 10 February 2019


  • 300g fresh lasagne
  • 75g finely grated Parmesan
  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 250g pancetta, finely chopped
  • 600g mincemeat
  • 300ml red wine
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
Bechamel sauce
  • 600ml full fat milk
  • 60g butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • Freshly grated black pepper

First we need to make the ragu (that's the meat sauce).  Heat the oil and butter in a large deep saucepan over a medium heat, add the vegetables and fry until softened.  Add the pancetta and mincemeat and fry until browned off (making sure you break up the mince otherwise you end up with clumps!).  Add the wine and simmer until it is absorbed into the mixture, then add the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, tomato purée and a little of the stock, stir well, cover and cook over a low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring in the remaining stock during this process.  Stir in the cream and cook uncovered for around 10 minutes or so until it is reduced, then set aside.

To make the bechamel sauce, heat the milk until it's just about to boil, then set aside.  Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour over a medium heat until you have a smooth golden roux.  Gradually add the hot milk, stirring all the time, until the sauce is smooth and thick, then stir in a few grinds of black pepper then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 170g (fan assisted).  In a large rectangular baking dish add about a third of the ragu, smooth it out until the base is covered, cover with sheets of lasagne, top with a third of the bechamel sauce and then repeat the layers twice more.  Sprinkle over the Parmesan and bake for around 40 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and browned.  Serve hot on its own or with a nice green salad and garlic bread.  This recipe will feed 6 or with careful portioning you could get 8 servings.

I prefer to use fresh pasta but you can use dry sheets, however they can be a bit crunchy if not covered fully!  Whilst it may seem a long time to cook the mince you will be glad you did as you will end up with a thick glossy ragu which is packed with flavour.  

This dish is perfect for any time of year and is an all time classic, once mastered you won't need another ragu recipe!  If you like to batch cook you can portion up some of the ragu and add some tinned chopped tomatoes and you then have a perfect bolognese sauce.

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