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Try Michela's traditional Italian lasagne recipe at home. It's sure to impress family and firends.
Make your white sauce and if you are making fresh pasta, make your basic egg pasta dough and roll it into long pasta sheets and then and cut it into strips to fit a 30cm x 20cm lasagne dish.
Heat a large pan over a medium heat. When hot, lower the heat and fry the pancetta for 2 to 3 minutes, until it starts to crisp up.
Stir in the onion, carrot and celery and leave to sweat with the lid on for 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and stir for 1 minute.
Add the beef to the pan, stirring occasionally until browned all over. Pour in the wine and keep stirring for 2 minutes. The aim is to burn off the alcohol, leaving just a hint of the lovely wine flavour.
Stir in the tomato purée and chopped tomatoes and then add 200ml of boiling water. Crumble in the stock cube, add the bay leaf and stir together. Leave the ragù to simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (keep in mind that the Parmesan used in the lasagne is quite salty).
Reheat the oven to 1 0 350 gas .
If you are using fresh pasta, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the pasta sheets for about 2-3 mins, until al dente. Lay them on a clean tea towel to absorb most of the water. Reheat the white sauce, loosening the sauce with a little milk, if needed.
To assemble the lasagne, start by covering the bottom of a 30cm x 20cm ovenproof dish with a thin layer of white sauce. This will stop the pasta sticking to the base and burning. Follow this with a layer of pasta. Slightly overlap the strips so that there are no gaps, but don’t let the pasta curl up the sides of the dish; cut the pieces to fit. Top with a layer of white sauce and then a layer of ragù. Continue in this order until you have 4 or 5 layers of pasta and finish with the white sauce. (Don’t use too much ragù or Béchamel at each stage; you only need a thin layer of each.)
Sprinkle with the Parmesan and cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
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