2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100g pancetta cubes, unsmoked
500g pork mince
500g veal mince (can also use beef but not the lean variety or venison)
100g chicken livers, chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
3 large cloves of garlic, finely sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tsp crushed chilli flakes
350mls white wine
250mls beef stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes
50g plain flour
50g butter, melted
a good grating of fresh nutmeg
Make the ragu first, as it takes a long time to cook. Start by melting the butter and oil in a saute pan or large frying pan. Once the butter is fully melted add your chopped celery, onion, carrots, garlic and pancetta and over a medium heat saute for about 15 mins until the veg are all lovely and soft.
Turn the heat up a little and add the meat in stages, so that you evaporate all the water that comes out of the meat first before you add the next batch. Add the chilli flakes and bay leaves at this stage. One all the meat is added turn back to medium and fry until the meat is well browned, it’s fine if you have some crunchy bits as this all adds to the flavour. keep stirring from time to time, this will probably take about 15-20 mins. Once you have all the meat well brown, add the white wine to deglaze the pan. If you are using a frying pan you need to transfer everything to a sauce pan now (is using a saute pan it can stay in there). Now add the stock, milk, tomatoes and season well, then on a very low heat simmer away for around 3-4 hours. You need to check it every now and then and give it a stir and taste it to make sure the seasoning is OK. The consistency at the end of the cooking period should be like porridge, with some oil left on the top but it shouldn’t be “wet”. You can use this ragu with any pasta you like by making it a bit wetter by adding some water. But for lasagne it needs to be thick.
Bechamel sauce – melt the butter in a pan, then whisk in the flour and cook out for a couple of minutes. Then add the milk whisking continuously until you have no lumps. Add your nutmeg and a little salt and simmer until you have a nice thick sauce. Set aside until needed.
Preheat your oven to 180C/gas 4
Layer up your lasagne starting with some Bechamel sauce on the bottom then your first layer of pasta, then meat ragu and more white sauce on top of that. Keep going till you have 3 layers of pasta. On the top of the final layer of pasta, put Bechamel sauce and a good amount of fresh grated cheese. I like using a mix of parmesan and cheddar but it’s up to you, you can also dot with cubes of mozzarella, or can also leave out the cheese if you don’t like cheese.
Bake in the hot oven for 30-45 minutes until your pasta is soft and the top is bubbling and golden brown.