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Traditional Lasagne

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Serves: 4
450g / 1 lb lean minced beef steak
175g / 6 oz pancetta or smoked streaky bacon, chopped
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
125g / 4 oz button mushrooms, wiped and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
90g / 3 1/2 oz plain flour
300ml / 1/2 pint beef stock
1 tbsp freeze-dried mixed herbs
5 tbsp tomato puree
salt and freshly ground black pepper
75g / 3 oz butter
1 tsp English mustard powder
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
900ml / 1 1/2 pints milk
125g / 4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
125g / 4 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
8-12 precooked lasagne sheets
crusty bread, to serve
fresh green salad leaves, to serve

Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 400ºF / Gas Mark 6, 15 minutes before cooking. Cook the beef and pancetta in a large saucepan for 10 minutes, stirring to break up any lumps. Add the onion, celery and mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, or until softened slightly. Stir in the garlic and 1 tablespoon of the flour, then cook for 1 minute. Stir in the stock, herbs and tomato puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the remaining flour, mustard powder and nutmeg, until well blended. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually blend in the milk until smooth. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring, until thickened. Gradually stir in half the Parmesan and Cheddar cheeses until melted. Season to taste.

Spoon half the meat mixture into the base of a large oven proof dish. Top with a single layer of pasta. Spread over half the sauce and scatter with half the cheese. Repeat layers finishing with cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and the top is golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately with crusty bread and a green salad.

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