Everyone has their own go-to lasagne recipe, whether it’s been passed down through your family or one you’ve adapted yourself over the years. Mine is definitely the latter, I used to be so bad at cooking that I thought using a jar of Dolmio and adding some red wine and bacon was restaurant level haha.
I can safely say that most Italians will consider this a bastardisation of the classic, but I bloody love it. The key is slow cooking that ragu. I cook mine on a low temperature in the oven for a good 3-4 hours, it makes all the difference. I also hate celery, so I use fennel instead and it works perfectly. One thing I also do is use guanciale, which is similar to pancetta. I get mine from Celino’s at their deli counter, but if you cannot find any, a good quality pancetta will work!
My Ultimate Lasagne
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
50g guanciale or quality pancetta, diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 fennel bulb, finely diced
2 cloves crushed garlic
500g beef mince
200g pork mince
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
250ml red wine
500g tomato passata
1 beef stock pot or cube (I use Knorr rich beef stock pots)
50g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
Fresh or dried lasagne sheets
1. Preheat your oven to 150c (fan). Put a large saucepan on over a medium heat, then add your diced guanciale or pancetta. Cook until the fat is released and they are starting to crisp up. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Use the remaining fat from the guanciale to cook the diced onion, carrot and fennel with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and the pork and beef mince and cook for a few minutes more until the meat is browned.
3. Add the oregano, basil, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar and the red wine and cook for 3-4 minutes until reduced. Add your passata, then half-fill the passata container with water, swill it around, then pour the tomatoey water into the pan along with the stock pot or cube and the cooked guanciale/pancetta. Bring the whole lot to the boil, season with salt and pepper, then pop the lid on and cook in the oven for 3 hours.
4. After 3 hours, remove the lid, reduce the heat to 120c (fan) and cook for a further half hour uncovered. While it cooks, we can make our white sauce!
5. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour and stir to make a roux/paste. Cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly until thick. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of grated nutmeg, if you have it. Whack your oven up to 160c fan.
6. Assemble! Start with a layer of the ragu, then some pasta sheets, then the white sauce, and repeat, finishing with a layer of pasta and white sauce. Grate plenty of parmesan over the top, then back in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbling.
Let me know if you decide to make it – comment below and be sure to tag me in your photos @theglasgowdiet on Instagram!