This a fairly traditional beef lasagne recipe and I make the bolognese sauce and the béchamel from scratch, so it is not a quick recipe, but it is easy. When I make lasagne, I like to make extra bolognese sauce – enough to make a very speedy spaghetti bolognese the next day or you could pop it in the freezer for a quick and easy meal whenever you need it.
Alternatively, I sometimes make a spaghetti bolognese the first day and use the leftover bolognese sauce to make a lasagne the next day. This cuts down the time it take to make the lasagne considerably. Whatever you decide to do, the quantity of bolognese sauce below will make enough for 2 meals for 4 people.
I find it very interesting that so many people have so many different ways of layering a lasagne – I recently found myself debating this very topic with friends on Facebook, everyone seems to have their own method.
My way is very simple. I put half the bolognese mixture on the bottom of the dish, followed by half the lasagne sheets, followed by half the béchamel sauce. Then I repeat those steps again and finally add some sliced mozzarella and grated parmesan on top. I find this gives the right balance of cheese, sauce and pasta and means that every mouthful has a little bit of everything in it – but feel free to experiment with other methods if you prefer!
I usually serve this lasagne with a simple salad and a glass of Chianti, but if I’m feeling really hungry I add some garlic bread as well!
Easy Peasy Beef Lasagne
- Olive oil
- 2 large onions finely chopped
- 2 large carrots peeled and finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery finely chopped
- 1 kg beef mince
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 800 ml beef stock from cubes is fine, I use 2 Kallo organic beef stock cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 60 g butter
- 50 g flour
- 500 ml milk
- 50 g parmesan grated
- Salt and pepper
- 12 Lasagne sheets
- 50 g parmesan grated
- 1 ball mozzarella sliced into 6-8 pieces
- Start by making the bolognese sauce. Put a drizzle of olive oil in a wide, deep saucepan and add the chopped onion, carrots and celery. Cook with the lid on over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured.
- Turn the heat up to medium/high and add the mince. Fry for 5-10 minutes until the mince has browned all over and is flecked with darker brown.
- Tip in the tinned tomatoes, beef stock and bay leaves, plus salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the bolognese sauce is simmering, make the béchamel sauce. Put the butter in a large saucepan over a gentle heat until all the butter has melted and just started to bubble.
- Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine. Allow this mixture to cook for 2 minutes on a very low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Very gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Make sure each bit of milk is incorporated before you add the next bit. If you do this slowly on a very low heat, you should end up with a perfectly smooth béchamel sauce with no lumps and no need to whisk. However, if it does go wrong for some reason, you can always use a whisk to beat out the lumps.
- When all the milk is incorporated, add the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. (N.B. I use slightly salted butter, so I don’t add any extra salt here.) Stir to combine, then turn off.
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Put half the bolognese mixture in a large rectangular ovenproof dish. Lay over 6 lasagne sheets (Note: if your dish is a different shape to mine just use more or fewer lasagne sheets so that you have one layer and not much overlap). Pour over half the béchamel sauce.
- Repeat this process with another layer of bolognese, another layer of lasagne and another layer of béchamel.
- Finally, add the sliced mozzarella cheese and sprinkle over the remaining parmesan.
- Cover the lasagne with foil and cook for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes or until brown on top and bubbling round the sides.
- Serve with a simple side salad and a glass of chianti.