Lasagne Bolognese

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 450 g/1 lb Farina O flour, or strong plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 175 g/6 oz cooked spinach, well drained and puréed
  • salt

Béchamel

  • 50 g/ oz butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 750 ml/ pt milk
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 90 g/3 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Ragù bolognese

  • 350 g/12 oz lean minced beef
  • 90 g/3 oz streaky bacon
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 150 ml/¼ pt dry white wine
  • 300 ml/½ pt water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 2 sprigs parsley, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper

Method

To make the pasta

Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Lightly beat the eggs and then mix into the flour with the spinach and salt. Work lightly into a rough ball and knead on a floured board for a few minutes until the dough is smooth, shiny and elastic. Wrap in greaseproof paper and leave for 30 minutes to rest. If making by hand, divide the dough into four balls and flatten out each one, rolling lengthways. Keep the surface well floured. Continue until the pasta is paper-thin, then cut into wide strips. If using a hand pasta machine the final thickness should be number 1 setting.

Have ready a large pan of boiling water. Place the lasagne in the boiling water and when it rises to the top (this should take about 2 minutes), drain and dip straight away into a bowl of cold water, then drain again and leave out flat on clean linen cloths.

To make the ragù

First mince the bacon and fry in a little olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and when they have slightly browned, add the beef and seal it.

Add the wine, water and tomato purée, parsley, bay leaf and seasoning. Cover the pan and simmer for 30–40 minutes.

For the béchamel sauce

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour and stir well. Add the milk, which has been heated but not boiled, a little at a time, stirring all the time. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure a creamy sauce. Use a balloon whisk for this process.

To assemble the lasagne

Take a rectangular gratin dish (earthenware or stainless steel) approximately 30×20×7.5 cm/12×8×3 in and spread a layer of ragù in the bottom and then a layer of béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and cover with pasta. Keep on layering in this way until the dish is full, finishing with a layer of béchamel, topped with a generous coating of Parmesan cheese.

Place the dish in a hot oven 190°C/375°F/gas 5 for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.