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  • Writer's pictureJo Marsden

Herby Beef and Red wine Lasagne

Updated: Apr 25

A national favourite over here in the UK and a comfort food classic! My Herby Beef and Red wine Lasagne packs a great flavour punch and is ideal to serve up to the family or at a dinner party. This recipe is for 6 portions, and you can pop any leftovers in the fridge and heat them up the next day, following my handy how-to reheat Lasagne guide at the end of this post. I prefer to use fresh Lasagna pasta sheets, but you can use dried ones, ideally, you should blanch these in salted boiling water first to soften them up a little.

Lasagna is a delicious combination of slow-cooked beef, herbs and red wine (meat sauce), creamy bechamel (white sauce), pasta sheets and of course lots of cheese. Combined together and baked in the oven, the result is a hearty comforting meal that will satisfy across the board. This dish isn't really complex to make but does take some time, so a good book or some kitchen chores are useful in between stages.

Ingredients (Meat Sauce):

  1. 500g Lean Beef Mince

  2. Panchetta / Smoked Bacon (4 slices, chopped roughly)

  3. A few knobs of Butter

  4. 1.5 x Medium Onions (finely chopped)

  5. 1.5 x Medium Carrots (finely chopped)

  6. 4 x Large Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)

  7. 2 x Bay Leaves

  8. Dried Oregano

  9. Dried Italian Herbs

  10. Fresh Thyme (leaves)

  11. Fresh Basil (stalks)

  12. 400ml Good Red Wine

  13. 690g Jar Of Passata

  14. A Little Tomato Puree

  15. A splash of Worcestershire Sauce

  16. Rock Salt / Black Pepper

  17. Beef Stock Pot

  18. Olive Oil

Ingredients (White Sauce):

  1. 75g Butter

  2. 75g Plain Flour (sieved)

  3. 1 x Garlic Clove (finely chopped)

  4. Ground Nutmeg

  5. 550ml Whole Milk

  6. Salt and Black Peper

Ingredients (Lasagne):

  1. Pack of Fresh Lasagne Sheets

  2. Block of Cheddar Cheese

  3. Mozzarella Ball (Fresh)

Method (Meat Sauce):

Take a large pan or Creuset pot, and add to this a few cubes of butter. Roughly chop your smoked bacon/pancetta and gently fry in the butter for 5 minutes. Once it's starting to brown take your finely chopped onions and carrots and add these to the bacon/pancetta. Soften these for a few minutes, giving everything a good season of rock salt and black pepper.

Once these have cooked out and are starting to soften, take them off the heat and set aside. Using the same pan, add a little olive oil and then brown your mince. You want to give the mince a good cooking until all the water and fat have evaporated and the mince is starting to char nicely. At this point add a good glug of Worcestershire Sauce and cook out for a minute or so, season with rock salt and black pepper. Drain your mince and set it aside.

Turn your oven on to 160c and using the same pan, add back the softened veggies and bacon/pancetta, add to this 2 x tbsp of tomato puree, 3 x tsp dried oregano, and 3 x tsp dried Italian herbs and your chopped garlic cloves. Cook this out for a few minutes, add back your minced beef, and then your red wine. Simmer this on a low/medium heat for around 15 minutes, stirring regularly. Once the wine has reduced and the alcohol has cooked out, add your jar of passata reserving a little for later, add the beef stock pot, season, stir well and bring to a simmer. Add a little water to the mix to loosen it up, as it will be cooking in the oven for quite a while.

Take your bay leaves, a bunch of fresh thyme and the stalks from your basil. Tie these up using some string to make a bouquet garni, and pop this into your ragu, check for seasoning, then cover and place in the oven for around 1.5 hrs, stirring occasionally until the meat is really tender, and the ragu has thickened up. Finally, sprinkle some freshly picked thyme, a little dried oregano and some dried Italian herbs. Check the seasoning again and set aside. Now prepare your White sauce / Bechimel.

Method (White Sauce):

Pop a pan on a medium heat and finely slice your garlic clove and melt the butter in the pan. Pop the chopped garlic into the butter and cook this out a little then add your sieved flour to form a roux, allow this to cook for a minute or so and then slowly whisk in the milk on a low/medium heat until the sauce thickens up. Add a good shake of ground nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Once the sauce has thickened up, take it off the heat and build your lasagne.

Method (Lasagne):

Now it's time to layer up your lasagne! Take a large oven-proof tray and start with a layer of meat sauce. Top this with a layer of fresh pasta sheets, cut these to fit if needed, you want to ensure the entire dish is covered. Then add a layer of white sauce, then a layer of grated cheese. Tear up half of your mozzarella and place little nuggets of this in with the grated cheddar cheese. Now add another layer of meat sauce, then another layer of fresh pasta sheets, a layer of white sauce, and some more grated cheddar and the remaining mozzarella nuggets. Finally top with the remaining passata (from the Meat Sauce Recipe) a little more cheese and then sprinkle some dried oregano and Italian herbs.

You can cover this and pop it in the fridge to bake later (See how to reheat Lasagne below) or bake it right away uncovered (as below). The Lasagne needs 45 minutes at 190c and should be golden brown and bubbling once cooked.

Do not serve the lasagne right away, let it sit for 10 minutes to cool and set, then using a sharp knife cut through the lasagne to make 6 portions (see below).

How To Reheat Lasagne:

If you have any leftovers, cover these and put them in the fridge. These will last for 3-4 days and can be reheated as follows. I find it best to do this in the oven. Heat your oven to 180c and cover your Lasagne with foil, bake in the oven covered for 25-30 mins. Take the foil off for the final 5 minutes and give it a little sprinkling of cheese, then serve immediately.

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