Lasagne is one of those dishes that is so simple you may pass it off as a non – event but is truly incredible when you take the time to do it properly. .
I learned this dish at Ballymaloe and ever since it has been one of my favourites to make and eat.
Making it all in one go would take you quite a while, which is why I advocate making a double batch of ragu sauce and freezing half.
The butter dotted on top may seem unnecessary but it’s essential if you want to achieve a deep, golden brown finish.
1 quantity ragu sauce
225g 00 flour
half a medium white onion
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
Pasta. Place the spinach a steamer basket inside a large pot and cook for several minutes, until just wilted. Don’t overdo it or you will lose the bright green colour. Remove from the basket and set aside to cool. Once you can comfortable handle it, using clean hands, squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
Place the spinach in the bowl of a food processor and blitz. Add the flour, followed by the egg, and mix to combine. Tip out onto a clean work surface and gently knead with your hands until it comes together into a firm dough. Cover with plastic and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes. You can make the dough up to this stage up to four days in advance.
Divide the dough in half and roll using a pasta maker. Begin on the widest setting, go over it twice on each number. The first few times you roll it out change direction, fold it over to form net works of gluten.
Bechamel. Place the milk, onion, bay leaves and nutmeg in a saucepan. Bring to the shiver stage and leave to infuse while you make the roux. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the hot milk, bit by bit, whisking constantly until you have a smooth, glossy sauce. Taste and season accordingly.
Layer. Layer a small amount of béchamel, grate parmesan over and top with ragu. Be very sparing. The beauty of this lasagne is many fine layers. I usually get about five layers in total.
Dot the top with butter, and bake in an oven preheated to 200°C for about 30 minutes. I usually start it off with tin foil over the top, then remove it for the final ten minutes, or until it is golden brown and bubbling.
Let cool for 10 – 15 minutes before slicing.