Classic Lasagne

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Method

Called lasagne alforno, this is a classic baked pasta dish layered with a ragú or minced beef sauce, pasta sheets, béchamel sauce and finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese. Lasagne verdi is made from spinach-flavoured lasagne sheets. Homemade pasta sheets make the best lasagne of all but you can save yourself a great deal of time if you buy the dried ‘no precooking’ variety. These sheets will be even more successful if you soak them briefly in a large bowl of hot water before you assemble your lasagne, as this softens them slightly. It is also now possible to buy fresh lasagne sheets, making the whole process simpler still. When assembling lasagne, do not use more than 4 layers of pasta as too many layers with too little filling and sauce make a stodgy dry lasagne.

To serve 6-8 people, you will need 8-10 lasagne sheets, 900ml-1.2 litres (½-2 pints) béchamel sauce and 900ml-1.2 litres (1½-2 pints) minced beef sauce and grated Parmesan cheese. The exact quantities, of course, depend on the size of your ovenproof dish.

  1. Cook dried lasagne sheets that need precooking in a large pan of boiling salted water with a few drops of oil until al dente. Add the sheets a few at a time. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a clean tea towel, spacing well apart.

  2. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce in a greased ovenproof dish. Add a layer of pasta sheets, then a layer of meat sauce, a layer of béchamel sauce and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Add a second layer of pasta and continue layering, finishing with pasta.

  3. Top with a thick layer of béchamel sauce sprinkled with more grated Parmesan cheese. Cook in a preheated oven, 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4 for about 45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

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