The Greatest Lasagne

For a sensational version of an Italian classic, try Paul Bloxham's luxurious lasagne assembled from home-made pasta and meat sauce
By Paul Bloxham
The Greatest Lasagne
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus 40 mins resting
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

main

  • 4 large eggs
  • 200 g chopped frozen spinach, thawed and very finely chopped
  • 500 g '00' flour
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 250 g parmesan, freshly grated
  • 2 balls of buffalo mozzarella, sliced
  • 200 ml crème fraîche
  • zest of 2 lemons, grated

For the meat sauce:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 2 carrots, scraped and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme, chopped
  • 5 clove garlic, sliced
  • 500 g minced pork
  • 500 g minced beef
  • 75 g pancetta, diced
  • 100 ml milk
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 500 ml beef stock
  • salt, and freshly ground pepper

Method

1. First cook the meat sauce. In a large, heavy-based saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter, together until the butter has melted.

2. Add in the onion, celery, carrot, thyme and garlic and fry very gently, stirring often, until the onion is translucent.

3. Add in the pork, beef and pancetta, mixing well. Brown the minced meat over a high heat, stirring constantly to prevent the meat from sticking together.

4. Add in the milk and simmer, stirring now and then, until the milk has been reduced to nothing.

5. Add in the tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring now and then.

6. Add in the wine and stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for one hour 30 minutes, stirring now and then.

7. Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground pepper.

8. T o make the lasagne, place the eggs and spinach in a food processor.

9. Pulse for a couple of seconds, then add in the flour and olive oil and pulse blend until incorporated.

10. Turn the dough out onto a clean working surface and knead until smooth. The pasta dough should be elastic and a little sticky.

11. Wrap the dough in cling film and set aside to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

12. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions and roll each portion out to the thinnest setting on a pasta machine.

13. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.

14. Cut the pasta sheets into 20x10cm rectangles and drop the squares into the boiling water.

15. Cook for 1 minute, until tender, than drain and refresh in a large bowl of iced water. Drain and set aside.

16. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6.

17. In a lasagne dish or dishes, assemble the lasagne, beginning with a layer of meat sauce, a sprinkling of grated Parmesan, a layer of the spinach pasta, a layer of meat sauce, a sprinkling of grated Parmesan and so on until all the sauce and pasta is used up, finishing with a layer of pasta.

18. Top the lasagne with sliced mozzarella and crème fraîche with grated lemon zest and more grated Parmesan.

19. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes, until the edges are browned and the sauce is bubbling.

20. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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