Bolognese sauce (+ Lasagne)

Makes enough for 1 x 6 serve lasagne (using 1 x 250g packet of instant lasagne sheets)

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
  • ~700g minced beef
  • ~300g minced pork (or use all beef)
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 200g tomato paste
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • ~200ml red/white wine
  • ~200ml milk
  • ~1.5 – 2 litres chicken stock, shiitake mushroom stock, or water
  • A few big shakes Fish sauce
  • A little caster sugar

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, ground cloves and nutmeg for 4-5 minutes, until soft and lightly caramelised.

Add the meat and continue to cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Add the herbs and continue to stir until the meat is well browned and broken up finely (about another 5 minutes).

Add the tomato paste and cook for another few minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.

Pour in the milk and boil to reduce to almost no liquid. Pour in the wine and boil to reduce by half. Add the stock and tinned tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper (not much salt as you will season again later).

Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water if required, until the oil separates from the meat and it’s all quite caramelised.

Season to taste with fish sauce and sugar, and cook another 5 mins.

Bechamel for lasagne

This makes a slightly thicker bechamel than the traditional sauce

  • 80g butter
  • 80g plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt
  • ground white pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-4 minutes, taking care not to let the paste colour. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Put the milk, onion, bay leaf, clove and nutmeg in another saucepan and heat gently until simmering. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

Strain the warm milk onto the cooled paste and whisk together. Bring to the boil, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.


Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Ladle a small amount of sauce into a large baking dish and cover with a layer of lasagne sheets.

Ladle more sauce over the sheets and drizzle over some bechamel, then sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese. Continue to layer in this way until you reach the top of the dish (aim for at least 6 layers of lasagne). Add the grated cheese every second layer. Finish with a layer of cheese.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.