Serves 6

This typical southern Italian lasagne is usually made for special occasions such as Carnevale – the week before Lent when festivities all over Italy take place. Lent is traditionally a time when eating meat is forbidden, so a lasagne such as this one – with meat ragù and sausage – would be made to enjoy before the period of abstinence. Only the tomato sauce from the meat ragù is used for the lasagne; the beef can then be enjoyed as a second course with a green salad.


250g Italian pork sausage
Splash of extra-virgin olive oil
350g ricotta
2 eggs
150g grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 lasagne sheets
250g mozzarella, coarsely chopped

Ingredients for the ragu

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
750g beef brisket, cut into large chunks
5 tbsp. red wine
1 tbsp. tomato purée (paste) dissolved in a little warm water
3 x 400g/14oz cans of chopped plum tomatoes
A handful of basil leaves
20g grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


First make the ragù: heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and bay leaves, and sweat for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add the beef and seal well all over. Increase the heat, add the wine and allow to evaporate. Stir in the tomato purée mixture, chopped tomatoes, basil, Parmesan and some salt and pepper; bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for at least 2 hours, until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is thick. Check from time to time, stirring with a wooden spoon and, if necessary, add a little hot water.

When cooked, remove the beef and set aside to enjoy later.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C

Cook the pork sausage: you can either do this in the oven or fry it. If using the oven, put the sausage into a roasting pan with a splash of olive oil and bake for 25 minutes. If frying, fry for about 15 minutes in a frying pan (skillet) with a splash of olive oil over a medium heat. When cooked through, remove, slice and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, half of the Parmesan, and some salt and pepper, until creamy.

Line the bottom of a baking dish (about 24 x 17 cm/9½ x 7 in) with some of the tomato ragù, cover with a layer of lasagne sheets; then add a layer of ricotta, scatter over some sausage slices and some pieces of mozzarella, then add another layer of tomato ragù. Continue making layers in this way until you have used up all the ingredients, ending with a layer of lasagne sheets, tomato ragù, mozzarella and the remaining grated Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Cover with foil and bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.