Lasagne, Pigeon Cottage style

This is my classic, deli-style lasagne recipe with a rich, tomato and beef mince filling and a deliciously creamy béchamel sauce topping. It takes a bit of effort to make each layer but the end result is so worth it. I use fresh egg pasta which makes it much easier – the Sainsbury’s brand is pretty nice as it comes in six interleaved sheets that fit my large baking dish perfectly. Served with a simple green salad on the side, it’s the perfect family supper dish.

Serves 6

  • 800gm lean minced beef
  • 1x400g tin of chopped tomatoes (I use the Mutti brand)
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 tbsps light olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 pack of 6 fresh egg lasagne sheets (I use Sainsbury’s)
  • 600ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 small onion, peeled and studded with 2 cloves
  • 2 large, fresh bay leaves
  • 60g Parmesan, grated

To make…

  • Put the milk into a non-stick saucepan with the onion, bay leaves and cloves. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat and set aside to infuse.
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the chopped onion, garlic, celery and carrot and sautée gently for a good 20 minutes until soft and sweet. Stir in the minced beef and cook until it is all browned. Break up any lumps with the back of a spoon. Add the red wine. Stir in the oregano, canned tomatoes and the tomato paste. Season lightly with a little salt and pepper. Add enough water to come to the level of the meat and vegetables. Cover and cook over a gentle heat for an hour. It should turn into a rich, flavoursome meat sauce.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a non-stick pan and then stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook it out over gentle heat for a few minutes and gradually add the milk (remove the bay and onion first). Whisk it gently to ensure the sauce stays smooth. Add a little milk and allow it to thicken and keep doing that until all the milk has been incorporated. It should be smooth and of pouring consistency.
  • Remove the lasagne sheets from packaging and place in a bowl. Cover with water and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Drain before using.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Now you can assemble the lasagne, lightly butter a deep rectangular baking dish. Add one third of the meat sauce and spread it evenly over the base. Add two sheets of the drained pasta side by side to make one layer. Add another layer of meat sauce, two more pasta sheets, Add another layer of meat sauce, two more pasta sheets. Pour the béchamel sauce over the final lasagne sheet layer. Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. Serve with a green salad.

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About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
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