Classic Italian Lasagne Recipe by Neven Maguire
This dish needs no introduction, as the Irish have taken to it as if it was their own. This lasagne recipe makes two dishes, as I figure that if you’re going to the trouble of making it, you might as well freeze one or use it to feed a crowd!
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 large onion, finely chopped
– 1 large carrot, finely diced
– 100g (4oz) button mushrooms, trimmed and finely diced
– 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
– 675g (1½lb) lean minced beef
– 2 tbsp tomato purée
– 2 x 400g (14oz) tins of chopped tomatoes
– 100g (4oz) butter
– 100g (4oz) plain flour
– 1.75 litres (3 pints) milk
– 225g (8oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
– 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
– 14–16 lasagne sheets (dried or fresh, page 12)
– Sea salt and freshly ground
– Black pepper
1. To make the Bolognese sauce, heat a large pan. Add the oil with the onion, carrot, mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Cook for 8–10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened and taken on a little colour, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the minced beef and mix until well combined, then sauté until well browned, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato purée and continue to cook for another minute or two, stirring.
3. Pour in the tomatoes and season to taste. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for 2 hours, until the beef is meltingly tender and the sauce has reduced.
4. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a pan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Remove from the heat and gradually pour in the milk, whisking until smooth after each addition.
5. Season to taste. Bring the sauce to the boil, whisking constantly, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, until smooth and thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in most of the Cheddar cheese until it has melted.
6. To cook the lasagne, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Brush 2 x 2.25 litre (4 pint) ovenproof dishes with the rapeseed oil, then line with a layer of lasagne sheets, breaking them to fit as necessary.
7. Add half of the Bolognese sauce and spread it into an even layer, then spread over half of the cheese sauce. Cover with another layer of the remaining lasagne sheets. Use the rest of the Bolognese to make another layer, then pour over the remaining cheese sauce.
8. Scatter the rest of the Cheddar on top and bake for 1 hour, until the lasagnes are bubbling and lightly golden. Serve straight to the table.
Thank heaven for Neven! This definitive cookbook will be a lifesaver in every family’s kitchen. Our families are the most important people in our lives, so when it comes to mealtimes we want to give them the best we can. This new definitive collection from Neven Maguire gives you all the inspiration and help you’ll need to get more of the good stuff into your family’s diet and make homemade food the heart of your home.
The book also includes lots of tips on how to wean the family off processed food for meal and snack times, how to plan for large family gatherings, how to cut down on food waste and how to bake the perfect celebration cake.
Neven Maguire’s Complete Family Cookbook is published by Gill Books and available to buy in all good book stores and online at www.gillbooks.ie/cookery.