Lasagna al ragú

Lasagna al ragú is a popular dish in Italy and it’s often consumed for lunch on Sundays. In particular lasagna al ragú is a Neapolitan traditional dish made on Shrove Tuesday that dates back to ‘700. Historically families would eat lasagna in preparation for the Lent period, a time of sacrifice and deprivation in preparation for Easter, that starts the day after Shrove Tuesday.

The classic Neapolitan recipe calls for a rich Neapolitan ragú (a meat and tomato sauce cooked over a very low flame for a long time), fried meatballs, fior di latte (a type of mozzarella), ricotta cheese, and boiled eggs. While I followed the classic recipe in the past, over the last few years I have been opting for a less laborious version using a bolognese sauce, instead of the meatballs, and just ricotta cheese and béchamel.

Together with migliaccio , lasagna al ragú symbolises Carnival to me!

Prep TimeCook TimeServe
2 hours30 minutes8

Ingredients

  • 600g mice beef
  • 140g tomato passata
  • 500g lasagna sheets (I use ready to cook)
  • 300-350g ricotta cheese (I use goat ricotta cheese)
  • 50g grated Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino mix
  • 200ml bechamel
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 celery stick
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. To make the bolognese sauce:

  • Finely grate the carrot, onion, and celery stick to make a mirepoix. Warm up the olive oil in a large pot, add the mirepoix and cook it for a couple of minutes until translucent.
  • Add the minced beef and cook it until brown, stirring it continuously so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Pour the tomato passata into the pot. Then put a bit of water in the passata bottles (about 3 fingers high) shake well to clean each bottle and add the tomato water to the pot. The water will allow the ragú to cook without burning the tomato and leaving it a bit liquid.
  • Bring the beef and tomato mixture to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer until the sauce is cooked down but it’s not too dry. I usually let it cook for at least one hour.

2. Assemble the Lasagna:

  • Put some bolognese sauce at the base of a 32cmx20cm (about 2.4L) baking dish
  • Add a layer of lasagna sheets
  • Cover it with bolognese sauce, ricotta cheese, grated parmigiano cheese and béchamel sauce.
  • Add another layer of pasta and cover it with bolognese sauce, ricotta cheese, parmigiano cheese and béchamel sauce
  • Rewear the steps until you use up all the lasagna sheets and the remaining ingredients.

Ready to cook lasagna sheets take a lot of liquid, so make sure you do not overlap the lasagna sheets too much and add plenty of sauce as it will help cooking the lasagna sheets.

3. Bake it in a pre-heated oven at 180C Fan for 30 minutes. Take it out of the oven and let it sit a few minutes before serving.

Lasagna can be made ahead and stored in a covered air-tight container in the fridge for a couple of days.

It freezes very well, I would recommend it freezing it in a pyrex dish or baking dish so that it can go straight in the oven once defrosted.

Enjoy making it and let me know if you have any comments or questions!

If you want to make this recipe and share it on your social media please tag me using @prepandproperrecipes and the tag #prepandproperrecipes

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