This is the classic Lasagne alla Bolognese recipe from the Emilia region in northern Italy. The Bolognese sauce is made with a mixture of beef and pork mince. The addition of prosciutto, red wine, cinnamon and nutmeg make it truly authentic.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 carrot, diced
100g prosciutto or bacon, cubed
300g minced pork
300g minced beef
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt, to taste
1 glass red wine (about 180ml)
600g peeled San Marzano tomatoes or passata
80g plain flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
300g lasagne sheets, dried or fresh
200g grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
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Bolognese Sauce: In a saucepan add oil, onion, shallots, carrot and prosciutto or bacon. Allow to cook for a few minutes over medium heat so that the onion becomes translucent and the bacon releases some of its fat.
Add the pork and beef mince then season with nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Cook the mince over medium-high heat, stirring often until browned, about 10 minutes. Pour in the red wine, then increase the heat and let simmer for a few minutes for the alcohol to evaporate. Add the tomatoes (or passata) and mix well. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Check the sauce occasionally and stir from time to time. Adjust seasoning to taste. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.
White Sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir vigorously with a whisk so that no lumps are formed. Pour in the milk and cook over medium heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir occasionally with a whisk to avoid lumps. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove sauce from heat and set aside.
To Assemble: If using dried lasagne sheets, cook by following the cooking time on the packet. If you use fresh ones, dip each sheet in salted boiling water for 1 minute. In both cases, drain the lasagne sheets and pass quickly under the tap to stop the cooking. Lay them on a tea towel and pat dry.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Pour a ladleful each of the white sauce and the Bolognese sauce over the bottom of a 20x30cm baking dish. Lay 3 to 4 lasagne sheets side by side and cover with 1/3 or 1/4 of remaining white sauce (depending on how many layers you want to do); then cover the sheets with the same amount of Bolognese sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, then cover with lasagne sheets. Continue layers, finishing with white sauce and a good handful of grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the pasta is fully cooked and the top is golden brown. Remove from oven, then let stand for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
This lasagne is perfect to prepare one or even two in advance. Simply cool to room temperature after baking, then cover and keep in the fridge. Reheat in the oven for 10 to 20 minutes, or until heated through.