Might this be my favourite home cooked meal of all time? Quite possibly! This lasange tastes insane (if I do say so myself!). You must try this at home - there's a few steps to it, but it's lots of fun to make and I promise you it will become a firm family favourite.
FOR THE MEAT SAUCE
500g beef mince
200g sausagemeat (if you don't eat pork, use extra beef)
100g pancetta (again, you can also use extra beef)
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
1tbsp mixed herbs
1tsp smoked paprika
1/4tsp black pepper
400g tin chopped tomatoes
120ml (1/2 cup) water
Handful fresh basil, finely chopped
FOR THE WHITE SAUCE
40g plain flour
600ml whole milk
1/2tsp ground nutmeg (can also use freshly grated)
1/4tsp black pepper
~10 lasange sheets (this will depend on your pan size - try to get hold of no need to precook sheets!)
125g grated mozzarella cheese (or 1x 125g ball mozzarella)
30g grated parmesan cheese
Handful of seasoned breadcrumbs
Large baking tin (mine is 9" x 13", though any large baking dish will work)
Start off by making your meat sauce. I personally like to whizz the garlic, onion, carrot and celery in a food processor until you get a sort of vegetable mush, though of course you can chop it yourself.
Preheat some oil in a large pot or frying pan over a low heat, and fry off the vegetables with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes or so, until softened.
Add in the pancetta, and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the beef and pork and fry until browned.
Add in the tomato puree, bay leaf, mixed herbs, salt, sugar, smoked paprika, pepper, tin of tomatoes (be sure to swill out the can 1/3 of the way with water and add that to the pan too!) and water. Give everything a good stir, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes whilst you prepare the white sauce.
For the white sauce, add the butter and flour into a medium-sized saucepan over a low heat. Once the butter has melted into the flour and you have a paste (there should be no dry bits of flour) slowly pour in the milk, bit by bit. Ensure everything is combined before adding the next bit of milk. Make sure you do add the milk gradually as this ensures you don't get any lumps!
Once all your milk is added, turn up the heat and bring to the boil, and cook for a couple of minutes until thickened slightly (it will continue to thicken as it cools).
Remove from the heat, and add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.
Once your meat sauce is done, stir in the fresh basil.
Now time to assemble! Make sure you grease your baking pan first and preheat your oven to 170°C!
Spread about 1/3 of the meat sauce at the bottom of your baking dish. Follow with a layer of pasta sheets, then half of the remaining meat sauce.
Top with half of the white sauce, and half of the grated cheese (if using a ball of mozzarella, simply tear off pieces and dot them evenly across the top of the white sauce).
Add another layer of pasta sheets, then add the remaining meat sauce, followed by the remaining white sauce.
To finish, top with the breadcrumbs, remaining cheese, and finally, sprinkle over some more mixed herbs.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling, and the top is a golden brown.
Leave to stand for about 10 minutes once fresh from the oven, before digging in.
This dish is great to make in advance. Assemble, and keep in the fridge up to a day before you want to bake it. Be sure to add an additional 10 minutes to the cooking time as the lasange will be cold from the fridge.