Requires: 20 X 30cm baking dish
To make the Sausage ragù, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based stockpot over medium heat. Cook the onion, carrot and celery, stirring, until the onion is soft (approximately 4 minutes). Break up the sausage meat with your hands and add it to the stockpot. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and breaking up any lumps until the sausage meat is lightly browned all over. Add the red wine and cook for about 5 minutes or until the wine has reduced. Add Italian passata and water. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, then add tomato paste and a pinch of salt. Simmer for 1 hour, then set aside to cool slightly.
Meanwhile to make the Besciamella sauce, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to form a smooth paste (a roux). Allow the flour and butter mixture to cook for a minute (but do not allow it to brown). Remove from the heat. Slowly pour the cold milk into the roux, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Add the bay leaf and return to medium heat. Cook, stirring with the wooden spoon until the Besciamella comes to the boil and thickens (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Season with salt to taste and stir in freshly grated nutmeg. Set aside to cool slightly.
Remove the fresh lasagna sheets from the packet.
Note: If you wish to make your own pasta for this recipe, use 1 quantity of fresh egg pasta, and divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces. Use a pasta machine to roll out the dough, starting with the highest setting. Fold the pasta sheet in half, then roll out through the pasta machine several times to laminate the pasta. Adjust the setting on the pasta machine and fold the pasta sheet in half each time you feed the pasta dough into the machine until the dough is very thin (approximately 1-2mm).
To assemble the lasagna, ladle a few spoons of besciamella sauce to just cover the base of the baking dish. Cover with a layer of pasta sheets that overlap slightly. Spoon Sausage ragù
where the pasta overlaps. Ladle 1/3 of the Sausage ragù over the pasta sheets, using the back of a ladle or spoon to press it down and level it. Spread 1/3 of the besciamella sauce over the Sausage ragù. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese. Continue layering with the pasta sheets, Sausage ragù, besciamella sauce and mozzarella cheese. Finish with a layer of pasta, Sausage ragù, besciamella sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano sprinkled to cover the lasagna.
Bake in a preheated oven (200°C conventional or 180°C fan forced) for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. To confirm that the lasagne is cooked, insert a knife in the centre of the baking dish and hold it there for a few seconds – if the knife blade is hot, the lasagna is ready. Leave to rest for a minimum of 10 minutes before serving.
Cut the Lasagna with sausage ragù into 6 portions. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and serve – buon appetito.