Pretty much everyone knows how to make a standard lasagne - but not everyone knows how to make it as delicious as D'ACampo's!
Gino shows us his alternative spin on the warming family favourite that will have you pining for pesto, and begging for bechamel; his authentic 'lasagne con pesto'.
12 fresh lasagne sheets (each approx 10x15cm)
500g minced beef
3 tbsp of olive oil
1 large carrot (peeled and grated)
1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)
1 celery stick (finely chopped)
1 700ml bottle of passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 tbsp of tomato puree
1 glass of Italian dry red wine
100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
50g salted butter (cold and cut into 1cm cubes)
Salt and pepper to taste
For the bechamel sauce:
100g salted butter
100g plain flour
1lt full fat milk (cold)
¼ freshly grated nutmeg
For the pesto sauce:
40g of basil leaves
1 clove of garlic (peeled)
30g pine nuts
120ml of extra virgin olive oil
20g freshly grated parmesan cheese
Pinch of salt to taste
1. To prepare the pesto, place the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor. Pour in the oil and blitz for about 10 seconds until smooth. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and fold in the cheese. Season with salt and set aside.
2. For the meat sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions, carrot and celery for 5 minutes on a medium heat. Add in the minced beef and continue to cook for a further
5 minutes stirring continuously until coloured all over. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
3. Pour in the wine, stir well and continue to cook until the wine has evaporated. (Approximately 3 minutes).
4. Add in the sieved tomatoes with the tomato puree, lower the heat and continue to cook for 1 hour, lead off, until you get a beautiful rich sauce. Stir occasionally. (After about 30 minutes, taste for seasoning).
5. In the meantime, to make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute until it becomes a light brown colour. Gradually whisk in the cold milk, reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes whisking constantly. Once thickened, stir in half of the parmesan cheese with the nutmeg and the pesto that you previously prepared. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to slightly cool.
6. Spread a quarter of the béchamel sauce on the bottom of a deep ovenproof dish measuring approx 30x25cm. Lay 4 lasagne sheets on top and if necessary cut them to fit the dish. Spread over half of the meat sauce then top with a third of the remaining béchamel sauce. Lay 4 more sheets of lasagne on top and cover with the remaining meat sauce. Spread over half of the remaining béchamel sauce. Add a final layer of lasagne sheets and gently spread the rest of the béchamel on top making sure that you completely cover the lasagne sheets.
7. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and scatter over the cubed butter. Freshly ground some black pepper over the whole lasagne.
8. Cook on the bottom of a preheated oven at 180C for 30 minutes then place the dish in the middle of the oven. Raise the temperature to 200C and continue to cook for a further 15 minutes, until golden and crispy all over.