23 Sep


A well-made lasagne is a delightful thing. Unfortunately, the dish that passed for lasagne in my childhood did not fit this description.

According to the index card, mum got the recipe from a neighbour on our block. It calls for an entire tin of tomato paste, Kraft cheese slices, and a large tub of sour cream.

It was years before I ate lasagne again, and was happily surprised to discover how good it can be.

One of my ambitions is to reproduce the entire Fern’s Food cookbook on this site, so I’ll have to revisit mum’s recipe some day. I hope to be happily surprised.

In the meantime, this is the way I make lasagne.

(It’s been years since I’ve pre-cooked a lasagne noodle. They always come out exactly right, so I haven’t included that step here, but by all means feel free to do so.)

(serves 8)

For the meat sauce:

  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 500g ground beef
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tb tomato purée
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 Tb fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tb fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper

For the white sauce:

  • 500ml milk
  • half an onion, sliced
  • a few gratings of nutmeg
  • 1 bayleaf
  • a few peppercorns
  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour
  • 9-12 sheets dried lasagne
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  1. To make the meat sauce, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low flame.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic, and sauté until softened.
  3. Add the ground beef, increase the heat to medium-high, and stir until browned.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and red wine. Simmer gently for half an hour until the sauce is thickened.
  5. Season to taste, and stir through the chopped herbs. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. To make the white sauce, heat the milk, onion, nutmeg, bayleaf and peppercorns in a saucepan until it just reaches a boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 15 minutes before straining.
  7. In another saucepan, melt the butter over a medium-low flame. Stir in the flour to make a roux.
  8. Slowly whisk in the milk, then stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  9. Butter a wide, deep rectangular baking dish generously. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  10. Add a layer of noodles, followed by a third of the meat sauce, then a third of the white sauce.
  11. Make two more layers this way, then top with the grated mozzarella, followed by the grated Parmesan.
  12. Bake for 30-40 minutes until browned and bubbling.

3 Responses to “Lasagne”

  1. cookwithreena September 23, 2018 at 7:14 pm #

    that looks delicious

  2. Yana October 7, 2018 at 8:52 am #

    I look forward to the reproduction of the ‘Fern’s Food Cookbook’ one day! 🙂

    • Andrea October 10, 2018 at 11:12 am #

      Thanks, Yana 🙂

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