What you do
Preheat your oven to 190c/170cfan/gas 5
Spread the onion, carrot and celery in a parchment lined roasting tin. Season lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of olive oil, mix well and spread out again. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, stirring half way through the cooking time.
Remove the veggies from the oven and scrape into a preheated sauté pan. Add the remaining olive oil, garlic, herbs and cook over a medium heat until soft and slightly sticky – this bit is important for the flavour.
Once the veggies start to colour a little, crumble in the beef mince and stir through, cook so all the rawness is cooked out. Pour in the wine, then the tomatoes, stock, Parmesan rind if using and sun dried tomato paste, stir through and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down so that the pan is barely simmering, cover and cook for 2 hours. Remove the lid and stir occasionally. To finish, taste and adjust with salt, pepper and a ½ teaspoon of sugar, or more if needed. Set aside to cool whilst you make the béchamel sauce.
To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk and cream or crème fraiche. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring until thickened and add the vegetable bouillon, white pepper, sea salt and nutmeg. Taste and adjust with more seasoning if needed. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the grated Parmesan, season and set aside.
Drain the mozzarella and shred into thin strips.
To assemble the lasagne: Use a nice deepish gratin dish or a small roasting tin or square/rectangular foil container. Spoon one-third of the ragu into the base and top with 3 sheets of cooked lasagne.
Repeat again, but add a layer of mozzarella and one-third of the béchamel sauce on top of the ragu before the pasta sheets. On the final layer, add ragu and dot the cream cheese over the top before adding the final layer of pasta. Finish with the remaining béchamel and grated Parmesan to create a delicious crust.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until bubbling and golden. Leave it stand for 10 minutes before serving as it will cut better.
3 tablespoons olive oil
250g onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 large stick celery, peeled, trimmed and finely chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
6 stems of thyme (1 level teaspoon of dried will also do)
1 bay leaf
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
500g lean minced beef
200ml white wine
500ml of whizzed up tinned tomatoes
300ml chicken stock
1 Parmesan rind if you have it (optional)
2 heaped tablespoons sun dried tomato paste
50g plain flour
450ml full-fat milk
150ml double cream or crème fraiche
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder (Swiss Marigold in a tub with orange lid)
Sea salt to taste and ¼ teaspoon each of white pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
1 pack Buffalo Mozzarella – approximately 125g
200g full fat cream cheese
100g grated Parmesan
9 cooked lasagne sheets (use hand made, fresh packet or dried lasagne sheets following the instructions on the packet to cook them)