Joseph Denison Carey’s classic lasagne

It's a staple on nearly every family table and for many a taste of home, so as our students head off to university, Joseph Denison Carey’s in the kitchen to help us master his recipe of one of the most popular ready meals in the country.

Once you’ve tried it you’ll never go back!

Classic lasagne

Serves: 8


1kg 20% fat beef mince

2 tsp sunflower oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

250g red wine

250g beef stock

2 tbsp tomato purée 

2 cans chopped tomatoes

Cornflour to thicken

For the white sauce

50g butter

50g flour

500ml milk, warmed

Dijon mustard to taste

Parmesan cheese (grated) to taste

Pinch ground nutmeg

Black pepper

Dry lasagne sheets

Cheddar cheese, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4

2. For the sauce, heat a large frying pan until hot. Cook the mince until browned all over, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. 

3. Add a little oil in a separate pan and cook the onion, celery and garlic until softened. Stir in the browned mince. 

4. Add the red wine to the pan the mince was cooked in. Deglaze the pan by scraping the browned mince bits from the bottom of the pan and add the wine and stock to the pan with the mince mixture..Bring to the boil. 

5. Stir in the tomato purée and tomatoes.Thicken with a little cornflour if needed. Bring to the boil then simmer for 1-2 hours to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

6. For the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and cook for one minute. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, until thickened. Add the Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese and nutmeg to taste. Season well with salt and pepper. 

7. For the lasagne, put a third of the meat sauce in the base of a 2.3 litre/4 pint shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon a third of the white sauce on top. Arrange one layer of lasagne sheets on top and season. Spoon half of the remaining meat sauce on top and then half of the white sauce. Put another layer of lasagne sheets on top, then the remaining meat sauce and remaining white sauce. Sprinkle over the Cheddar cheese.

8. Cook in the middle of the oven for about 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on top, bubbling around the edges and the pasta is soft (test by inserting a small knife into the centre of the lasagne). Serve with a crisp green salad or seasonal vegetables if liked.