Lasagne 1970s style

Alastair Hendy cooks a rich, meaty version of this popular dish by adding salami or bacon for extra depth of flavour
By Alastair Hendy
Lasagne 1970s style
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • olive oil, for frying
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 100 g salami, or bacon, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 x 400 g cans plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 150 ml beef stock
  • 60 g butter
  • 70 g plain flour
  • 600 ml full-fat milk
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 250 g no-cook lasagne sheets
  • 1 block parmesan
  • 100 g mozzarella, grated

Method

1. There are two sauces and some layering up to be done, so get everything ready and then you can assemble. You'll need a 20cm x 30cm shallow baking dish (or similar), inside lightly greased with oil.

2. To make the ragù sauce, gently fry the onion and garlic in a wide pan in 2 tbsp oil until soft but not coloured. Tip the salami or bacon in along with the minced beef and stir though, breaking up any clumps of mince. If you've bought a pack of supermarket mince, watch you don't tip the blotting-paper-like wadding attached to the mince's underside into the pan. (How many times have I done that?).

3. Let it fry, moving it around from time to time, for about 4 minutes or until it's faintly browned all over - it will, however, look more an unfortunate grey than brown. Next, season it, then add the tomato purée, oregano, chopped tomatoes and stock. Bring to a good bubble, and let it gently cook for about 20 minutes. It should be thick, gorgeously red, and not watery.

4. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and let it foam a bit, then slowly add the milk, stirring all the time. Keep stirring over a gentle heat until it thickens and bubbles. Grate in a good shower of nutmeg, add some salt and pepper and stir it through, then remove from the heat.

5. To assemble and bake, spread about a quarter of the meat sauce across the base of the prepared dish, then cover this with a layer of lasagne sheets. Spread this with the thinnest layer of white sauce and grate over some parmesan. Cover this with more pasta, and do the same again with white sauce and parmesan.

6. Now spoon in and spread out evenly another quarter of the meat. Top again with three layers of pasta, white sauce and parmesan. Continue to the top until everything is used up, finishing with a thicker layer of white sauce and then scatter the grated mozzarella all over the top.

7. Slide the dish on the top shelf of a 190C/gas 5 oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the pasta inside is cooked and the top molten and golden. Eat with a green salad.

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