Italian Lamb Lasagna
A rich tasty baked lasagna made with a lamb ragu, béchamel and lasagne pasta sheets. This delicious dish is a fabulous way to serve lamb at Easter or for Sunday lunch. Lamb lovers will be asking for seconds so be sure to make enough!
- 250 g lasagne pasta sheets (9oz) fresh, homemade or dried
- 800 g lamb (1.8lbs) boneless shoulder or leg or meat from neck chops
- 700 g tomato passata (1.5 lbs) I use passta 'rustico' which is thicker or polpa (pulp)
- 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 use other stock like beef
- 90 g Parmigiano Reggiano (3oz) grated
- salt for pasta and to taste
- freshly ground 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 freshly grated
Make the ragu
Clean the celery and carrot and chop finely. Peel and finely chop the onion. If using, wash the tomatoes and cut them in half. 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 the lamb is almost cooked but still pink, add the rosemary and wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Add the halved cherry tomatoes (if using) and cook until they start to soften.
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 until you have a paste. 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
Assemble and bake your lasagna
Once everything is ready assemble your lamb lasagna. I start with a layer of ragu. 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.
Don't forget to let the cooked lasagna sit for ten minutes before cutting and serving. It will hold together better.