3 tbsp olive oil

2 celery sticks, finely shopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

100g diced pancetta

500g beef mince

500g pork mince

2 tins of chopped tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1 rosemary sprig

2 thyme sprigs

2 tsp dried oregano

1 pouch beef stock

500ml red wine

400g sheets of pasta

50g parmesan, finely grated

For the béchamel sauce

1.5L milk

1 onion

3 bay leaves

3 cloves

100g butter

100g plain flour

A good grating of nutmeg

How long?

2 hours

How many for?



First infuse the milk for the béchamel sauce. Put the milk, onion, bay and cloves into a large saucepan and bring very gently just up to the boil. Turn off the heat and set aside for 1 hr to infuse.
For the meat sauce, put the oil, celery, onion, carrot, garlic and pancetta in another large saucepan. Gently cook together until the veg are soft but not coloured. Tip in your mince and tomatoes. Cook for a minute or two. Stir in all the herbs, the beef stock and wine, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hr, stirring occasionally to stop the bottom catching. Uncover and gently simmer for another 30 mins-1 hr until the meat is tender and saucy. Taste and season.
To finish the béchamel, strain the milk through a fine sieve into one or two jugs. Melt the butter in the same pan then, using a wooden spoon, mix in the flour and cook for 2 mins. Stir in the strained milk, a little at a time – the mix will thicken at first to a doughy paste, but keep going, adding milk gradually to avoid lumps. When all the milk is in, bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Heat your oven to 180C. Spread a spoonful of the meat sauce over the base of your baking dish. Cover with a single layer of pasta sheets, then top with a quarter of the béchamel. Spoon over a third of the meat sauce and scatter over a little Parmesan. Repeat the layers – pasta, béchamel, meat and Parmesan – two more times to use all the meat sauce. Add a final layer of pasta, the last of the béchamel and remaining Parmesan. Sit the dish on a baking tray to catch spills and bake for 1 hr until bubbling, browned and crisp on top.