Sometimes we all need a hug and this is my hug in food form. Deep rich ragu, creamy cheesy white sauce, rib coating sheets of pasta, all with a gorgeous crisp cheese topping.
2-4 tbsp olive oil
750g minced steak
3 cloves of garlic
2 stems of celery
2x 400g tins of tomatoes
40g tomato ketchup
1 tbsp white sugar
100ml red or white wine
2 beef Oxo cubes
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 herb stock pots Knorr
45g plain flour
150g Cheddar, grated
10-12 dried lasagne sheets
You will also need a large, roughly 28cm (11 inch) square ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 210ºC/410ºF/gas mark 6.
Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large ovenproof sautéing pan, seal the beef in small batches. Once all of the meat is browned remove from the pan and set to one side.
Place the carrots, onion, garlic and celery in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until finely diced. Add to the pan and gently fry for 5 minutes – add more olive oil if needed.
Return the meat to the pan, add the tinned tomatoes, wine, Oxo cubes and Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, sugar and herb pots. Fill one of the empty tomato cans with water and add to the pan.
Season with salt and pepper, turn up the heat and bubble and reduce for ten minutes. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Lower the temperature of the oven to 110ºC/225ºF/gas mark 1/2 and cook for a further 3-4 hours until the meat is tender, taste and season with some more salt and black pepper if needed.
In a medium heavy bottomed pan melt the butter over a medium heat until bubbling, sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the milk stirring the whole time, continue to cook for about 5 minutes until it thickens stirring the whole time. Stir in the mozzarella and 50g of the cheddar until completely melted.
Fill a large pan with water and a tablespoon of olive oil, bring to the boil, add the pasta sheets and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender, strain and tip into a bowl of cold water.
Spoon half of the ragu into the dish, cover with half of the pasta sheets and spoon over half of the white sauce. Repeat the process and finish with the remaining grated cheddar.
Bake in a preheated oven 210˚c for about 30-35 minutes. Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.