Italian Lamb Lasagna
A rich tasty baked lasagna that's perfect for Easter and lamb lovers
- 250 g lasagne pasta sheets (9oz) fresh or dried
- 800 g lamb (1.8 lbs) boneless shoulder or leg or meat from neck chops
- 700 g tomato passata (1.5lbs) I use 'rustico' which is thicker
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes optional (cut in half)
- 2 small carrots finely chopped
- 1-2 celery stalk finely chopped
- 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 glass red wine
- 1 cup lamb stock homemade or other beef stock cube
- 90 g Pecorino or Parmigiano (3oz) grated
- salt for pasta and to taste
- black pepper to taste
for the bechamel sauce
- 100 g all-purpose flour (3.5oz)
- 100 g butter (3.5oz)
- 1 Lt milk (4 cups)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
Make the ragu
- Clean the celery and carrot and chop finely. Peel and finely chop the onion. Cut the lamb into small cubes.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or iron skillet and add the chopped vegetables. Once they start to soften slightly, add the lamb pieces.
- Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
- When almost cooked, add the rosemary and wine and let the alcohol evaporate.
- Finally add two thirds of the tomato passata and the cup of stock and cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens. If you think it’s too thick add more passata or stock until you have the consistency you want.
Make the béchamel sauce
- While the ragu is cooking make the béchamel sauce
- In a saucepan, let the butter melt over a moderate flame. Add the flour a little at a time, stir carefully and make sure any lumps of flour dissolve.
- Then pour in the milk a little at a time, continuing to stir until it starts to thicken.
- Add salt, nutmeg and grated cheese, if you are using it. Continuing stirring until the cheese melts and the béchamel is thick enough. If it gets too thick you can add more milk.
Cook the pasta if you are using dried pasta sheets
- Put a pot of water onto to boil for the pasta if you are using dried lasagne sheets. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta sheets for only half the recommended cooking time. You may want to add a little oil to the water to stop them sticking together or cook them a few at a time.
Assemble and bake your lasagna
- Once everything is ready assemble your lamb lasagna. I start with a layer of ragu and some béchamel. Then I make a layer of pasta, with ragu and béchamel on top. Then another layer of pasta, ragu and béchamel.
- I continue until the dish is almost full and finish off with a layer of pasta with only béchamel on top sprinkled with pecorino or Parmigiano.
- Bake the lamb lasagna for at least 30 minutes at 180-200 ° until the top is golden and slightly crispy. Let the lasagna stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. (350-390°f)
This lamb ragu can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for 2 days or frozen. If frozen, defrost and heat through before making the lasagna.
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