A plate full of piping hot lasagne is ultimate comfort food. Bruna has shared this lovely recipe with us, one that has been passed down in the family for years.

There is an art to making a proper lasagne and it makes a great, relaxed Sunday afternoon of cooking. Bruna has laid out the 3 key stages in clear steps. She also reassures us this recipe is very forgiving (except for the spices—make sure to not add too much of the cloves, nutmeg or cinnamon). 

Ingredients

For the meat sauce:

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 250g ground veal
  • 250g ground pork
  • 500g ground beef (not extra lean)
  • 800g tinned Italian tomatoes (whole)
  • 400g passata
  • 1 1/2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the Béchamel sauce:

  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • 5-6 tbsp plain flour
  • 1L skimmed milk (or 1% milk)

For assembling the lasagne:

  • 400g grated fontina cheese (or low-moisture mozzarella)
  • 250g grated parmesan
  • Fresh lasagne pasta sheets (enough to make 4 layers)
 

Step 1 - Making the meat sauce:

  1. Place the garlic and oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and heat gently for two minutes. Then add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes 
  2. Add the meat and crumble the stock cube, allowing the meat to brown slowly over medium heat. There should be some clear oil visible at the bottom of the pan. If there is too much, pour some off
  3. Add the celery and carrot and continue cooking for 5 minutes over medium heat 
  4. Add the tomatoes (chop them roughly in the can so they don’t burst in the pan) and passata 
  5. Add the spices and season further with salt and pepper (to taste) and then simmer for an hour over medium heat. Stir occasionally, break up any tomatoes to ensure the sauce is smooth and season further with salt and pepper if needed

Making the meat sauce (Step 1) the day before and leaving it to rest in the fridge improves the flavours.


Step 2 - Making the Béchamel sauce:

  1. Make the sauce right before you assemble the lasagne
  2. Melt the butter slowly over a low heat
  3. Add the four gradually to make a smooth paste
  4. Add milk gradually, bit by bit, stirring over medium heat until it thickens, using a whisk to remove any lumps. It should be thick, but easily pourable. If it is too thick, add more milk over medium heat 
  5. Add 3/4 of the béchamel sauce to the meat sauce and save the rest for the top of the lasagne

Step 3 - Assembling the lasagne:

  1. Pour a little of the meat sauce in the bottom of a 34 x 25cm lasagne dish (this will help prevent the lasagne sticking to the bottom)
  2. Fully cover the sauce with one layer of the lasagne pasta, then add a layer of the sauce and sprinkle with both of the grated cheeses
  3. Repeat until you’ve reached the fourth layer of pasta. Cover this with the sauce, and drizzle the remaining béchamel sauce over the top, while sprinkling on a final layer of grated cheese
  4. If you’re cooking the lasagne immediately, then cover with foil and bake at 220°C/200°C fan for 45-50 minutes with fresh pasta (or around one hour with pre-cooked sheets). Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes to allow the top layer to brown. You’ll know it’s properly cooked when your fork passes easily through the lasagne and it's heated all the way through
  5. If you would rather cook it the next day, bake it for around half an hour, allow to cool and place in the fridge. Remove from the fridge an hour before baking and then bake at 220°C/200°C fan for around 30 minutes
 

BK Tips

  • If you can't find veal mince, substitute with 125g beef mince and 125g pork mince; you can try different types of cheese as well but they should be low-moisture, such as mozzarella
  • You can freeze the lasagne before cooking, provided you're using a freezer-safe dish (cover with 2 layers of foil). Allow to defrost all day in the fridge and then cook as normal
  • Pre-cooked lasagne sheets can be used in place of fresh pasta - just follow the cooking instructions on the packet