Lasagne

If you're looking for the ultimate traditional lasagne, this is it. It's brimming with cheese, fresh herbs and a rich beef ragu.

Ingredients

For the ragu
2 tbsp olive oil
900g  beef mince
2 onions, roughly chopped 
4 sticks celery, diced (optional) 
2 garlic cloves, crushed 
2 level tbsp plain flour
150mlbeef stock
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly (optional) or 1 tsp caster sugar 
3 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp chopped thyme
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
For the white sauce
50g  butter
50g plain flour
750ml hot milk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
50g Parmesan, finely grated 
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the lasagne
12 lasagne sheets 
75g mature cheddar, grated 

Method

Preheat the oven to160C.
 
For the Ragu

Heat a large frying pan until hot and add the oil.
Cook the mince until browned all over.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate. Add the onion, celery (if using) and garlic to the pan and cook until softened.
Return the meat to the pan and stir in the flour. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the redcurrant jelly (or sugar), tomato purée and thyme, then stir well. 
Stir in the canned tomatoes.
Bring to the boil again, cover and simmer in the oven for 1-½ hours, or until the beef is tender. 

For the White Sauce 

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook over the heat for one minute.
Gradually whisk in the hot milk, whisking until thickened.
Add the Dijon mustard and parmesan cheese and season well with salt and pepper. 

For the Lasagne

Preheat the oven temperature to 200C/400F/Gas 6. 

Put one third of the meat sauce in the base of a 2.3 litre shallow ovenproof dish.
Spoon one third of the white sauce on top.
Arrange one layer of lasagne sheets on top.
Season.
Spoon half of the remaining meat sauce on top and then half of the white sauce.
Put another layer of lasagne sheets on top, then the remaining meat sauce and remaining white sauce.
Sprinkle over the cheddar cheese. 
Leave for six hours before cooking so that the pasta can start to soften. 
Cook in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes- or until golden brown on top, bubbling around the edges and the pasta is soft. 
Serve with a mixed salad with balsamic dresing

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