Gary Rhodes' rich meat sauce contains milk, an authentic ingredient in Italian lasagne
By Gary Rhodes
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 1.3333333333333333 hours 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the ragu

  • 500 g lean minced beef
  • 150 g pancetta or streaky bacon
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200 ml milk
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 400 ml passata

For the béchamel

  • 15 g butter
  • 15 g flour
  • 300 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 50 g grated parmesan, (optional)

To finish

  • 6 sheets cooked fresh pasta, or cooked fresh spinach pasta
  • parmesan, freshly grated


1. For the ragu: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sweat the vegetables until they are softened but not coloured.

2. Add the meat and cook for around 5 minutes, or until the meat is golden.

3. Add the wine and simmer to reduce completely, then add the milk and reduce again.

4. Once the milk has completely reduced, add the passata. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and leave to cook, covered, for around 30 minutes. If it appears to have reduced too much during this time, simply add water to loosen.

5. For the bechamel: In a separate pan, melt the butter and add the flour and stir until combined to make a roux - it shouldnt take on any colour and should remain blonde.

6. Gradually add the milk to the roux, a little at a time, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.

7. Once all the milk has been added, keep whisking over the heat for 2-3 minutes to cook out the flour and allow to thicken.

8. Remove from the heat, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and nutmeg and leave to cool. If you are using parmesan, stir it through now.

9. For the lasagne: Spread a thin layer of the béchamel over the bottom of a baking dish and place 2 sheets of pasta over the top.

10. Spread half of the remaining béchamel on top of the pasta and then spread over a third of the ragu. Sprinkle over some grated parmesan and lay over another 2 sheets of pasta.

11. Repeat this process once more with more layers of pasta, finishing with a layer of ragu. Sprinkle over a good thick sprinkling of parmesan.

12. Bake in the oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for 25-30 minutes or until it is crispy and golden on the top and piping hot in the centre. Serve with a simple green salad.

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