Who doesn't like lasagne?! Any excuse to eat the comforting Italian delicacy.
Firstly rinse the mince under running water in a colander. This sounds like an odd thing to do but it helps break it down and separate it into smaller pieces. Drain the mince and put it into a roasting tray, along with the cloves and star anise, tied in a muslin bag, and roast in a pre-heated oven at 190°C.
You are trying to get a very dark even colour all over the mince as if it has been heavily fried. Once at the required stage (this will take around 40 minutes) remove the mince from the oven. Keep the meat and muslin cloth of spices to one side.
Cut the tomatoes in half and place them onto a baking tray. Dust them with the caster sugar and the flaky sea salt. Place them into the oven and bake them for 15-20 minutes until they begin to dry and the flavours become more intense.
Remove them from the oven and place under a hot grill or give them a quick blow torch to give them a little charred taste. Keep to one side.
In a large casserole pan, drizzle a little oil and heat up over a medium hob. Add the pancetta and cook out until the bacon begins to brown and the fat renders out. Remove the pancetta, and keep it to one side. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the dried oregano, Demerara sugar, 4 bay leaves, red wine and red wine vinegar. Bring it up to the boil and then reduce it down by half. Add the spice bag, beef stock, pancetta, mince ,tomatoes and mushrooms. Bring it all up to the boil, and turn the heat down to a simmer and gently stew the ragu for 1 ½ hours. It will thicken and enrich in taste. Season, stir in the fresh oregano and sage, remove the spice bag, and leave to cool. This will improve overnight in the fridge.
To make the white sauce, pour the 500ml of milk into a pan. Place the onion, thyme and bay leaves into the milk and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and cover the pan with a lid and leave to infuse like a cup of tea for 15 minutes.
In a separate pan, add the butter and melt over a low heat. Add the flour and cook out for 2-3 minutes over a low heat. Slowly pour on the infused milk, through a fine sieve, stirring all of the time until you get a thick and glossy sauce. Add the nutmeg and 150g of parmesan. Stir and season.
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Get yourself an ovenproof lasagne dish, approximately 20cm by 30cm and place a layer of the ragu in the bottom. Then a layer of the pasta sheets. Then a layer of white sauce. Then a layer of pasta then ragu and so on until you reach the top. Make sure you finish with white sauce on the top. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top. Place the dish into the oven and bake for 30-45 mins until warm in the centre. Remove from the oven and serve with a crisp green salad and some crusty bread.
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