Jan’s Tuscan style lasagne

I've always said that Jan makes a wonderful Lasagne, this has been borne out time and again by the feedback forms from our cheese making courses, they all comment on the food. At last I have persuaded Jan to write down two of her more successful recipes, starting with her Lasagne, but look out for the Lemon Posset recipe, it will transport you to another world.

Like a lot of Italian foods and sauces, the recipe starts with a Soffritto, this is a very solid foundation to build an Italian sauce on.

Ingredients

Soffritto:

2 carrots - medium to large - diced
2 celery sticks - diced
1 white onion - finely chopped
Handful of fresh parsley - chopped
Salt and pepper and good olive oil

Ragout:

1 lb of steak mince
1 lb pork mince
Handful of fresh thyme
2 cups of red wine
2 tbsp tomato paste / puree
1 tin of chopped tomatoes - 400g
2 Italian sausages - optional (skin removed)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

White sauce:

2-3 oz butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 pint of milk plus couple tablespoons of single cream
1 egg yolk
1 tsp salt

Nutmeg - optional
Cheddar cheese, grated for topping
Sheets of non-cooked or dried lasagne

Method

Make the Soffritto first:

Sauté slowly all ingredients in the olive oil until translucent, approx 15-20 minutes

Then the Ragout:

Slowly cook the beef and pork with the Italian sausage in olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan until browned through. Add the thyme and cook for 5 minutes and then add the wine, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, add seasoning to taste.

Add the Soffritto and stir until all ingredients are mixed. Add cup of water if required or it could be more red wine.

Place lid on top of the pan (or Casserole dish) and place in a pre-heated oven (170°C) and slowly cook for 2-3 hours. Let the Ragout rest for an hour.

Make the White Sauce:

Melt butter in a pan, add flour and cook for a couple of minutes stirring. Add slowly the milk stirring all the time until the sauce thickens. Add cream and seasoning, then remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolk. Should be a thickish consistency.

Then build the lasagne:

Layer first some Ragout (½ inch or so) in a large ovenproof tray, then spread some of the white sauce on top of the Ragout, cover this with 1 layer of lasagne sheets, repeat this process until you have at least 3 layers.

Optional: grated cheese on top or nutmeg

Place in pre heated oven, 180°C and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the topping is browned. Enjoy.