Don't be discouraged by the length of this lasagne recipe - it's easier than it looks. And if this doesn't float your boat, try our food editor Blanche Vaughan's vegetarian lasagne recipe. Yield: 6
For the ragout:
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
400g lean veal mince
500ml good white wine
200ml whole milk
⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
2 strips finely pared lemon zest
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
For the white sauce:
425ml whole milk
400g fresh spinach
2 egg yolks
Finely grated nutmeg, to taste
200g fresh egg lasagne (8 sheets)
30g finely grated parmesan
For the ragout, set a deep pan over a medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and onion. Fry gently for 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft. Stir in the celery and carrot, and fry for a further 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to high and add the veal. Stir briskly until the veal forms fine crumbs and is no longer pink. Add the wine and boil vigorously until evaporated, then add the milk and nutmeg and boil until evaporated. Stir in the bay leaf, lemon zest and chopped tomatoes.
Season and simmer gently for 70 minutes or until thick and flavoursome. Cool, cover and chill.
For the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the flour so that it forms a paste. Cook gently for a minute, then gradually add the milk, stirring all the time, until all milk has been mixed into the roux and you have a smooth, thin sauce. Add a pinch of salt to taste and cook very gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan. Set aside until needed.
Meanwhile, drop the spinach into a large pan of unsalted boiling water. As soon as it has wilted, drain and cool under a cold tap. Squeeze dry and roughly chop. Place in a mixing bowl with the ricotta, egg yolks and nutmeg. Beat together, season to taste, cover and chill until needed.
To assemble the lasagne, drop 4 sheets of fresh lasagne into a large pan of boiling, salted water. As soon as it returns to the boil, cook for a minute and remove to a bowl of iced water.
Repeat with 4 more sheets and pat them all dry with kitchen paper.
Spread half the ragout over the base of a 5cm-deep gratin dish (mine is oval, 30 x 22cm at the widest part). Cover with a single layer of lasagne sheets, cutting them to the fit the shape of your dish. Cover the pasta with the remaining ragout, then spread the spinach and ricotta mixture evenly over it and top with another layer of lasagne sheets. Pour the white sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Cover with cling film and chill until needed.
Heat the oven to 200˚C/fan oven 180˚C/mark 6. Uncover the lasagne and bake for 40-45 minutes.
This recipe originally appeared on House & Garden UK.