75 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
750 g (1½ lb) ground veal
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
1 large white onion, chopped finely
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 celery stalks coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 X 796-ml (2 X 28 oz) canned whole Italian plum tomatoes
15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato paste
4 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
3 bay leaves
30 ml (2 tbsp) dried oregano
12 fresh basil leaves
15 ml (1 tbsp) dried thyme
2 ml (½ tsp) chili pepper flakes
5 ml (1 tsp) fennel seeds
1 orange, zest only, grated
To taste salt and pepper
2 Italian sausages
Pasta and cheeses:
12 dried lasagna noodles
450 g (1 lb) Ricotta cheese
450 g (1 lb) Mozzarella cheese, sliced
30 ml (2 tbsp) Romano cheese, grated
Béchamel sauce with cheese:
80 ml (⅓ cup) butter
80 ml (⅓ cup) flour
500 ml (2 cups) milk
To taste salt and pepper
To taste grated nutmeg
125 g (4 oz.) Old Cheddar cheese, grated
For the meat sauce:
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot saucepan over high heat and brown veal for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
- Add onion, garlic, celery, peppers and carrot. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the canned tomatoes, dried tomatoes, tomato paste and seasonings. Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes. Break up whole tomatoes with the back of a spoon and stir sauce occasionally. Add the grated orange zest and cook another 5 minutes.
- Cook sausages in a frying pan. Remove, slice and set aside.
For the béchamel sauce:
- In a saucepan, melt butter then add flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the milk while stirring.
- Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
- Blend in the Cheddar cheese, stirring well. Set aside to cool.
Assemble the lasagna:
- Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F.
- Cook the lasagna noodles in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. Rinse in cold water, oil lightly and set aside on a clean towel.
- Pour a layer of meat sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan. Cover with a layer of noodles, then half of the combined cheeses (tossed together) and half of the béchamel.
- Continue with another layer of noodles and the rest of the meat sauce. Cover with one more layer of noodles, the remaining béchamel sauce and the sliced sausages. Finish with the remaining cheese mixture.
- Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
- Bake in centre of oven for 40 minutes.
Variation: For a vegetarian version, add 600 g (1.3 lb.) fresh, chopped spinach to the béchamel sauce. Replace the meat with 750 ml (3 cups) cooked lima beans sautéed in pesto.
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