This recipe works well for either meat, vegetarian or a vegan version. You can also substitute the lasagne sheets and the flour elements to make it gluten-free.
* For the meat/veggie/vegan sauce:
— 10g olive oil
— 50g each of grated celery, onion and carrot
— 10g finely chopped garlic
— 50g pancetta thinly sliced (for the meat version!)
— 500g lean minced beef or veggie mince – defrosted (Linda McCartney’s brand is best flavoured for vegetarian versions)
— 500g fresh tomatoes, blitzed or 1 x 500g jar tomato sauce or 1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes – blitzed + 100g extra stock
— 140g of either beef stock or veggie stock (Oxo is fine)
— Ground or grated nutmeg – optional
* For the white sauce:
— 300g milk or soya milk for vegan
— 60g butter or margarine for vegan
— 30g plain white flour or gluten-free flour
* For the topping:
— 100g grated cheese (Jules’ preference is 80g Cheddar and 20g Parmesan or you could go with mozzarella for a creamier finish. Vegan cheddar-style cheese works well too)
— 200g lasagne sheets or the gluten-free alternative
— Heat the olive oil to one of the pans then add the grated vegetables and garlic, fry until translucent. Add the pancetta if using and fry until it starts to crisp then the mince and fry it until it is brown.
— Add the tomato and the stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and the nutmeg if using, then simmer gently until the sauce becomes rich and thick – around 30-40 minutes. Keep stirring. Cool and reserve for building the lasagne.
— Meanwhile make the white sauce: Bring the milk to the boil in the other pan. While you are doing this, melt the butter in a bowl then whisk in the flour. When the milk has come to the boil, whisk in the butter and flour mixture, cook this out for around 1 minute, whisking all the time to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper, take of the heat and reserve for later.
— Ladle a thick layer of meat/veggie sauce into the ovenproof dish. Place a layer of lasagne sheets on top of the meat/veggie sauce. Ladle a layer of the white sauce, followed by another layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat with another layer of meat/veggie sauce, lasagne sheets then finish with a layer of the white sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese.
— Bake at 175 C for around 45 minutes or until a core temperature of 75 C is achieved.
— When cooked, remove from the oven and rest for at least 10 minutes before serving – this does make a difference to the taste and to the health of your mouth!