Sausage and fennel lasagne
Serves 8 | prep 40 mins | total time
- 1 x 250g pack dried lasagne sheets
- 1 x 210g pack mozzarella, drained
- 75g finely grated parmesan
For the ragù
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 x 400g packs Taste the Difference Sicilian-inspired pork sausages
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 125ml red wine
- 3 heaped tbsp tomato purée
- 2 x 400g tins peeled plum tomatoes
For the béchamel sauce
- 1 litre milk
- 1 small onion, halved through the root
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ nutmeg, finely grated
- 75g butter
- 75g plain flour
Assemble the lasagne, ready to bake, the day before; chill. Cook for 1 hour. It can also be frozen before baking.
- For the ragù, in a frying pan soften the onion and garlic in the oil. Remove the sausages from their casings and break up the meat. Stir the fennel seeds and bay leaves into the onions, season, add the sausagemeat and fry for 6-7 minutes until cooked, using a wooden spoon to break it up and stop it sticking.
- Tip in the wine and reduce for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato purée and tinned tomatoes and break them up with a spoon. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6.
- For the béchamel sauce, put the milk, onion, bay leaves and grated nutmeg in a saucepan, season and bring to a gentle boil. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the flour. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, stirring constantly, to make a roux. Remove the bay leaves and onion from the milk then add the roux, whisking furiously. Cook until the sauce thickens, adjust the seasoning to taste and remove from the heat.
- Spread 2 ladlefuls of the béchamel sauce over the base of a 30 x 20cm ovenproof dish. Add a layer of ragù and top with a layer of lasagne sheets. Thinly slice and layer a third of the mozzarella, tearing it into smaller pieces, along with a quarter of the parmesan. Repeat the layers of béchamel, ragù, pasta and cheeses to build up about three layers, finishing with a layer of béchamel. Scatter with the remaining parmesan and bake for 40 minutes until golden and bubbling.
'This is my version of a dish I ate in a restaurant in Siena. Using sausages instead of mince means the ragù is quicker to make than a traditional one. Including fennel seeds is typically Tuscan.'