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Lasagne Al Forno
A traditional Lasagne al Forno comprising a hearty ragu sauce made from sautéed vegetables, garlic and ground beef slowly cooked with tomato, red wine and herbs then layered between sheets of egg pasta with a creamy béchamel sauce and a crusty Parmesan topping. This is a great recipe for entertaining.
- 12 ready to use, no-cook egg lasagne sheets approximately 15cm x 8cm
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion (225g), chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 stick celery (55g), cut into ½ cm dice
- 1 medium carrot (85g), cut into ½ cm dice
- 85g smoked pancetta or smoked bacon, diced
- 500g lean ground beef
- 250ml red wine
- 250ml hot beef stock
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes and juice
- 4 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon mixed dried Mediterranean herbs and 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 40g plain flour
- 40g butter
- 600ml milk
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 85g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 25g grated Parmesan cheese
To make the ragu sauce
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium to large pan. Add the onions, garlic, celery and carrot, sauté for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon into a dish and place to one side. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the pancetta or bacon for 2-3 minutes, add the beef in small amounts searing each batch before adding the next.
- Return the vegetables to the pan and combine with the meat. Pour in the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Add the stock, tomatoes, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, herbs and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and remove the bay leaves.
To make the béchamel
- Melt the butter in a medium pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in a third of the milk, when combined whisk in the remainder of the milk.
- Place back on the heat and bring the contents to a simmer, stirring until thickened. Stir in the nutmeg, pepper and Parmesan cheese, cooking until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.
To make the lasagne
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/Gas Mark 5
- Add 3-4 large spoons of ragu sauce in the base of the dish and top with a horizontal row of 3 sheets of pasta.
- Spoon over one third of the remaining ragu sauce on top and then add another row of 3 pasta sheets.
- Spoon over the final third of the ragu sauce and add the final row of pasta sheets. Pour over the remaining béchamel sauce and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese for the topping.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is brown and bubbling. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before cutting portions and serving.
- By standing the lasagne before serving allows it to firm up and makes it easier to cut.
- To prepare this dish in advance you can make the lasagne to stage 5 then cover and chill or freeze it. Defrost thoroughly and increase the cooking time by approximately 10 minutes.
- Al Forno is a generic term for dishes made up of a combination of pasta and sauce then baked in the oven.
- The ragu sauce can also be served with Spaghetti Bolognese.