The Daily Telegraph - Saturday
I make my lasagne from start to finish in the same large, shallow casserole dish, as I want to keep all of the flavour in one place. Adding a drizzle of cream to the ragù thickens and makes the sauce deliciously rich without lengthy cook times. Gone is the (often lumpy) béchamel sauce, replaced with a mix of creamy ricotta, gooey mozzarella and parmesan. And to speed the whole thing up, I soak the dried lasagne sheets in warm water before layering. You’ll be so chuffed with the lack of washing up, it’s sure to become a regular dinner-time fix.
Serves four, with leftovers
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 onion, chopped
500g 20 per cent fat minced beef
4 garlic cloves, grated 700g passata with basil 1 tsp dried oregano
1 beef or chicken stock cube 200ml hot water
100ml double cream, plus extra 2 tbsp Handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
8–12 lasagne sheets (depending on size)
250g ricotta, drained 250g mozzarella, drained and cut into small cubes
75g parmesan, grated
h Heat the olive oil in a large, shallow, flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Fry the onion for two minutes until starting to soften, then add the minced beef. Increase the heat to high and fry for three minutes, stirring frequently until the beef has browned all over. Throw in the garlic and fry for one minute. h Pour the passata into the dish with the dried oregano and crumble in the stock cube. Fill the passata jar with the hot water, swirl it around, then add to the sauce. h Bring the mixture to the boil, then add the 100ml cream. Tear half of the basil leaves (if using) and add to the sauce with plenty of seasoning. Cook for five minutes until the sauce is starting to thicken and look rich in colour, then remove from the heat. h Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6. Fill a large bowl with hand-hot water and a drizzle of oil, then slide in the pasta sheets and leave to soak for a few minutes. h Use a ladle to scoop two-thirds of the ragù out into a heatproof bowl. Spread out the remaining third over the base of the casserole dish. h In a separate bowl, loosen the ricotta with the extra two tablespoons of cream and one tablespoon of the pasta soaking water. h Lift out and drain enough pasta sheets to cover the surface of the ragu in the casserole dish, laying them gently on top. Spread a third of the ricotta mixture over the pasta, then scatter over a third of the mozzarella and a third of the parmesan. h Add another layer of ragù and repeat until all of the ingredients have been used, finishing with a cheese layer. h Cover the dish with kitchen foil and bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and return the dish to the oven for a further 15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender and the lasagne bubbling.