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Lasagne al Forno in the Wood Fired Oven

There’s nothing more satisfying on these cold nights than a dish of something hot and hearty. This Lasagne al Forno with its slow cooked ragu layered between sheets of pasta and deliciously thick cheese sauce really fits the bill. You can see how David made our version of this classic in the Bushman Santorini in this week’s #woodfiredweekly here.

Lasagne al Forno in the Wood Fired Oven – Ingredients

  • dried lasagne sheets

For the ragu:

  • 350g minced beef
  • olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
  • sprig of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300ml stock
  • 100ml red wine
  • salt & pepper

For the cheese sauce:

  • 60g plain flour
  • 60g butter
  • 750ml milk
  • 50g cheddar cheese
  • 50g mozzarella
  • 25g parmesan
  • salt & pepper
  • nutmeg

Lasagne al Forno in the Wood Fired Oven – Oven state, equipment etc

1 Mississippi to brown the mince, 3 Mississippi for the cheese sauce and cooking the lasagne in the dish

Heat deflector in place

Lasagne al Forno in the Wood Fired Oven – Method

1. For the ragu, heat up a frying pan until smoking, pour in a little oil and brown the minced beef in small batches. Transfer to a plate.

2. In the same pan sweat the onion, celery, carrot, pepper, garlic and herbs in a little olive oil with the lid on until soft. Then remove the herbs and add the minced beef, tomatoes, stock and red wine. Season and leave to bubble away for about 20-30 minutes at the back of the oven with the lid on. You need the ragu to be quite liquidy as this recipe uses dried pasta which will soak up a lot of moisture.

3. While the ragu is cooking make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and combine together. Put the pan back in the oven and cook this mixture for a couple of minutes. Then add the milk a little bit at a time, mixing well and putting back into the oven to heat up between batches. Once all the milk has been added cook for a few more minutes until the sauce has thickened.

4. Add the cheeses (reserving a little parmesan) and season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg.

5. Assemble the lasagne by placing a layer of ragu on the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then a layer of lasagne sheets, more ragu and then some cheese sauce. Repeat until all your ingredients are used up, ending up with a layer of cheese sauce. Grate the reserved parmesan on top and place back in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the pasta is cooked through and the top is golden brown and bubbling.

Lasagne al Forno in the Wood Fired Oven – Alternatives

  • Seafood lasagne – use a mix of fish and shellfish in a white sauce flavoured with dill instead of the ragu
  • Roasted mediterranean vegetable lasagne
  • Chicken & pesto lasagne –  use a mix of mascapone cheese and pesto instead of a white sauce and a filling of stir fried chicken and vegetables

Lasagne al Forno in the Wood Fired Oven – Wine suggestion

Suzie from Michael Sutton’s Cellar suggests a Lebanese red like Massaya Le Colombier to accompany this classic lasagne.

Happy cooking and see you next week,
David and Holly