Lasagna al forno

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By: Tamasin Day-Lewis From: Tamasin Day Lewis

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This recipe is classed as intermediate

Rating 3.72 / 5 (167 votes)

Prep time:
30 min
Cook time:
3 hrs 55 min

Learn how to make this great lasagna with rich meat sauce from Tamasin Day-Lewis and delight your friends and family


1. Warm the oil and butter in a heavy-based casserole over medium heat. Add the onion and gently fry for about 5 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the celery, carrots and garlic, and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring to coat well.

2. Stir in the beef with a large pinch of salt and several grindings of black pepper. Cook, stirring, until the beef has lost its raw pink look.

3. Add the bay leaves and milk, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the meat has absorbed the milk. Season with a pinch of nutmeg.

4. Pour in the wine and let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes with their juice and stir thoroughly.

5. Cook, uncovered, at a lazy simmer with just an intermittent bubble breaking through the surface, for 3 hours or more. The fat will have separated, but the sauce will not be dry. Taste and correct the seasoning.

6. About 45 minutes before the meat is ready, make the béchamel sauce. Pour the milk into a saucepan with the bay leaf, onion and a generous pinch of nutmeg. Bring to just below the boiling point, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15-20 minutes.

7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Grease a shallow baking dish.

8. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Strain the milk, then gradually stir it into the flour mixture to make a thick smooth sauce. Season to taste.

9. Pour some béchamel into the baking dish - enough to just cover the base. Place a layer of lasagne sheets on top, followed by a layer of meat sauce, another layer of béchamel and a good handful of Parmesan. Continue with two or three more layers until both sauces are used up. Add a final sprinkling of Parmesan.

10. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until bubbling all over and a knife slips easily through the layers of lasagne.


  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 25 g butter
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 kg fresh fatty minced beef, such as chuck
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 225 ml milk
  • 1/3 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 225 ml white wine, 225
  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 9-10 sheets pre-cooked dried lasagne sheets
  • 90 g parmesan, freshly grated
  • black pepper

For the béchamel sauce:

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Latest Comment


LynJ57140 LynJ57140  Posted 22 Nov 2012 9:13 PM

Well worth the effort family favourite now!!!!

MargaretB23741 MargaretB23741  Posted 11 Nov 2012 6:12 PM

This is a labour intensive and an expensive lasagna if you use Organic meat as I did but worth both.
The long cooking time really does help develop the flavour.

sandiG82275 sandiG82275  Posted 10 Nov 2012 1:31 PM

The website wouldn't let me give more than 1 star, even though this dish deserves 5 stars - cooked it for the family who absolutely loved it !
Very labour intensive but well worth the effort, can't wait to make it again.

LynJ57140 LynJ57140 Posted 25 Apr 2012 10:52 PM

Why does it take so long to cook

carolB38763 carolB38763 Posted 17 Aug 2011 12:42 PM

I first made lasagna nearly 40 years ago. This is by far the best recipe I`ve ever made - everyone loved it.

MaggieW63548 MaggieW63548 Posted 13 Jun 2011 11:28 AM

while this had a lovely flavour, it was much too oily for my taste. I didn't use fatty meat the second time and didn't use as much butter/oil and i thought it was lovely!!!

Moll the Doll Moll the Doll Posted 15 Jan 2010 11:22 AM

This is the real thing!
Excellent and clear recipe.

Sally F Sally F Posted 17 Oct 2009 4:16 PM

ps would probably be nicer with fresh tomatoes

Rachyrae Rachyrae Posted 10 Aug 2009 4:00 PM

This was horrid. The meat sauce was tasteless. I only gave 4 stars because the website would not let me change the star rating. The bechamel was ok though, I would use that part again but make it a bit thinner. Sorry.

Rachyrae Rachyrae Posted 10 Aug 2009 3:58 PM

This is the best recipe I have come across for lasagne - it's fabulous. I have made it many times now and people love it!

kirstyT80049 kirstyT80049 Posted 29 Oct 2008 1:15 PM