Here Guy Grossi shares his mum's recipe for a classic Italian lasagne. With layers of fresh pasta, bolognese and bechamel sauce, it's no wonder diners in his Melbourne restaurant keep coming back for it!






Skill level

Average: 3.2 (177 votes)


Sugo bolognese

  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves, ground
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
  • 800 g minced beef
  • 100 g minced pork
  • 100 g minced chicken
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • handful of basil leaves, crushed to a paste with a little olive oil
  • 200 g tomato paste
  • 200 ml red wine
  • 2 litres chicken or veal stock, or water
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Besciamella (béchamel sauce)

  • 80 g butter
  • 80 g plain flour
  • 1 litre milk
  • ½ small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt
  • ground white pepper


To assemble

  • fresh lasagne sheets for 6 or more layers
  • olive oil
  • 250 g parmigiano reggiano, grated

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Standing time 15 minutes

To make the sugo bolognese, heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté the onion, garlic, chilli, ground cloves and nutmeg for 4-5 minutes, until soft and lightly caramelised. Add the meat and continue to cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the herbs, including the basil paste, and continue to stir until the meat is well browned and broken up finely (about another 5 minutes). Add the tomato paste and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Pour in the wine and boil to reduce by half. Add the stock or water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adding more water if required.

To make the besciamella, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth paste. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-4 minutes, taking care not to let the paste colour. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Put the milk, onion, bay leaf, clove and nutmeg in another saucepan and heat gently until simmering. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

Strain the warm milk onto the cooled paste and whisk together. Bring to the boil, whisking vigorously to avoid lumps, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.

Cook the lasagne sheets in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and put into a bowl of cold water with a few drops of olive oil to prevent the sheets from sticking together.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Ladle a small amount of sugo into a large baking dish and cover with a layer of lasagne sheets. Ladle more sugo over the sheets and drizzle over some besciamella, then sprinkle some of the grated parmigiano reggiano. Continue to layer in this way until you reach the top of the dish (aim for at least 6 layers of lasagne). Add the grated cheese every second layer. Finish with a layer of cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Serve with a little extra sugo and more parmigiano reggiano if desired.


Want more recipes like this? We recommend: 

• A vegetarian alternative: caramelised onion lasagne.
• Silvia Colloca's homemade pasta with meat sauce.
More recipes from Guy Grossi.
Master the basics: how to make pasta dough.