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Lasagne al Ragù - Delia Smith Recipe

Pasta sheets layered with a rich beef and pork ragu sauce, bubbling with a nice golden crust of Parmesan.

I've been making lasagne for years and have tried all sorts of different recipes.

Lasagne al Ragù

This is my 'titivated' version of one by Delia Smith and is so tasty. Now, I know you may not want to add the chicken livers but they really do add a lot of good flavour to the dish.

The recipe involves stirring the meat mixture and allowing it to come up to a simmering point and then adding a handful of torn basil leaves and adding them to the casserole.

Lasagne meat mixture

The meat sauce is now ready to go into the oven so you can get on with making the white sauce.

Top Tip!

It's important to melt the butter in the saucepan, then add the flour and allow it to cook for a few minutes, whilst stirring, before adding the milk.

If you don't do this the sauce will taste floury and raw. Then with the heat as low as possible, continue to cook the sauce for about 10 minutes.

When it's nice and thick, remove from the heat and stir in the cream, and grate in another quarter of the whole nutmeg.

Lasagne white sauce

When you're meat sauce is cooked you're ready to layer your lasagne with the meat, lasagne pasta and white sauce.

Once that's done, ready, bake the lasagne in a preheated oven at 180C/350F or Gas 4 it will take about 45-50 minutes or until bubbling and piping hot.

Serve with a nice salad.

Lasagne out of the oven

How to Make Lasagne

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lasagne, ragu, delia smith, recipe
pasta, lasagne, main
Yield: 6
Author: Jan Bennett
Lasagne al Ragù

Lasagne al Ragù

Pasta sheets layered with a rich beef and pork ragu sauce, bubbling with a nice golden crust of Parmesan.
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 2 H & 10 MTotal time: 2 H & 40 M


  • a pack of 6 fresh no-cook lasagne sheets each one about 8x6 inches in size
  • 55g Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), freshly grated
  • 250g minced beef
  • 250g minced pork
  • 150g chicken livers
  • 80g thin-sliced Pancetta
  • extra virgin olive oil - a few glugs for frying
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tins of good quality Italian chopped tomatoes 1 x400g and 1 x 230g
  • 5 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 175 ml of red wine
  • a good pinch of dried oregano
  • a whole nutmeg
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • two handfuls of fresh basil - leaves only
For the white sauce
  • 750ml of whole milk
  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 55g plain flour
  • 100ml double (heavy) cream


Preheat your oven to 140C/275F or Gas 1
  1. In a large frying pan heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
  2. Fry gently the onion and carrot for about 10 minutes, moving it around from time to time.
  3. Slice the pancetta as finely as possible. Now add the pancetta to the pan with the onion.
  4. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Then transfer this mixture to the casserole.
  5. Add another glug of oil to the frying pan, turn the heat up and fry the beef and pork to brown it, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
  6. Keep it moving so it browns evenly. When it's browned nicely, tip it into the casserole to along with the onions etc.
  7. Trim the chicken livers, rinse them under cold running water and dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper.
  8. Pull off any skin and snip out any strange looking bits with kitchen scissors and chop them into really small pieces.
  9. Now you need to put another tiny bit of oil into the frying pan and cook the pieces of chicken liver.
  10. As soon as they have browned nicely, add them to the casserole too.
  11. You now want to put the flameproof casserole over the direct heat and give everything a good stir.
  12. Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato purée, oregano and red wine.
  13. Give it a really good seasoning of salt, pepper and about a quarter of a nutmeg, grated.
  14. Still stirring, allow it to come up to a simmering point.
  15. Using only half of the basil leaves, (one handful) tear them into small pieces and add them to the casserole.
  16. Once everything is simmering, put the casserole on the centre shelf of the preheated oven without a lid.
  17. Leave it to cook slowly, for about an hour and then check on it, and give it a stir.
  18. Put it back for another 45 minutes and then check and give it a good stir.
  19. If you haven't by now got a nice thick, reduced concentrated sauce, that only has very little liquid left in it then put it back for another 15 minutes and by then it should be nice and thick.
  20. When it is, remove it from the oven.
  21. Have a taste to check the seasoning then tear the other handful of basil into small pieces and stir them in.
  22. Now leave the meat sauce to one side and make the white sauce.
  23. Now to make the white sauce:
  24. Put the butter and flour into a large thick-based saucepan and put it over medium heat whilst stirring with a wooden spoon. Let it cook for a minute or so (or the sauce will taste floury and end up lumpy).
  25. Now, remove from the heat and using a balloon whisk, add the milk in a little at a time, whisking all the time.
  26. Once all the milk is in, put the saucepan over a gentle heat and whisk continuously until the sauce comes to a simmering point and thickens nicely.
  27. Add some salt and pepper to season and have a taste to make sure it's okay.
  28. Then, with the heat as low as possible, continue to cook the sauce for about 10 minutes.
  29. When it's nice and thick, remove from the heat and stir in the cream, and grate in another quarter of the whole nutmeg.
  30. To put the lasagne together:
  31. Lightly oil your lasagne dish and spread a little of the ragù over the base of the dish. Cover this with a sheet of pasta.
  32. Now cover that with a little of the white sauce. Cover that with another sheet of pasta and some more of the ragù.
  33. Repeat this process, finishing with a final layer of cream sauce.
  34. Sprinkle the whole thing with the grated Parmesan cheese and you're ready to put it in the oven.
  35. You can do all of this well in advance - just cover with cling film and refrigerate until you're ready to cook.
  36. When you're ready, turn the heat up on your oven to 180C/350F or Gas 4 and bake the lasagne; it will take about 45-50 minutes or until bubbling and piping hot.


You will need a large frying pan, a flameproof casserole dish, a large saucepan and a 2.5-litre ovenproof dish.

A balloon whisk and a wooden spoon.

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  1. I would be one of those greedy people waiting for my slice Jan.

  2. I've been a proponent of using a white sauce in a lasagna for years. It's like a glue, keeps it moist, even on the next day for leftovers.

    Will you pick the chicken livers out for me? ;)

  3. Ive never put chicken livers in my lasagne - but I know they are authentic. I will have to try next time and just not tell hubby or the kids

  4. Peter and Beth - Paul doesn't know that I put chicken livers in - he just comments on how nice it is lol...bless him :)

  5. What a beautiful lasagna! I put a link to it on my fb Comfort Food page

  6. I think the chicken livers can impart quite a wonderful earthy flavor to the lasagna.....never tried it before..

    Looks so damn good, this lasagna!!!!

  7. I too haven't ever put chicken livers into lasagne!
    I think not telling is the best thing to do. The lasagne looks lovely Jan.

  8. I have been experimenting with cooking a Ragu for a while. That deep down beef flavor is so over the top I love it. Thanx for sharing!!!

    And the chicken livers GENIUS!


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