A traditional Lasagne al Forno comprising of a hearty ragu sauce made from sautéed vegetables, garlic and ground beef slowly, cooked with tomato, red wine and herbs. Layered between sheets of egg pasta with a creamy béchamel sauce and a crusty parmesan topping. This is a great recipe for entertaining as it can be made in advance ready to bake.

RECIPE INFO
Serves 6

Preparation Time
25 min

Cook time
120 min

COOK’S NOTE
Al Forno is a generic term for dishes made up of a combination of pasta and sauce then baked in the oven.

INGREDIENTS
12 ready to use / no cook egg lasagne sheets approximately 15cm x 8cm
Ragu sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion (225g) – chopped
2 garlic cloves – chopped
1 stick celery (55g) – cut into ½ cm dice
1 medium carrot (85g) – cut into ½ cm dice
85g smoked pancetta or smoked bacon – diced
500g lean ground beef
250ml red wine
250ml hot beef stock
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes and juice
4 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mixed dried Mediterranean herbs and 2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

Béchamel sauce
40g plain flour
40g butter
600ml milk
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon black pepper
85g parmesan cheese – finely grated

Topping
25g grated parmesan cheese

METHOD
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.

To make the ragu sauce

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium to large pan. Add the onions, garlic, celery and carrot, sauté for 3-5 minutes.

Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon into a dish and place to one side. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the pancetta or bacon for 2-3 minutes, add the beef in small amounts searing each batch before adding the next.

Return the vegetables to the pan and combine with the meat. Pour in the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Add the stock, tomatoes, tomato puree, Worcester sauce, herbs and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes stirring occasionally until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and remove the bay leaves.

To make the béchamel

Melt the butter in a medium pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove away from the heat and whisk in a third of the milk, when combined whisk in the remainder of the milk. Place back on the heat and bring the contents to a simmer, stirring until thickened. Stir in the nutmeg, pepper and parmesan cheese, cooking until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.

To make the lasagne

Add 3-4 large spoonful’s of ragu sauce in the base of the dish and top with a horizontal row of 3 sheets of pasta.

Spoon over one third of the remaining ragu sauce on top and then add another row of 3 pasta sheets.

Spoon over the second third of ragu sauce and top with 3-4 large spoonful’s of the béchamel sauce and then add another row of 3 pasta sheets.

Spoon over the final third of the ragu sauce and add the final row of pasta sheets.

Pour over the remaining béchamel sauce and sprinkle with the grated parmesan cheese for the topping.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is brown and bubbling. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before cutting portions and serving.