Layered Lasagne with Meatballs

, from Issue #65. March, 2016
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Layered Lasagne with Meatballs

The recipe makes plenty of béchamel sauce, but it’ll keep 2–3 days covered and refrigerated. Use in vegetable gratins, stuffed jacket potatoes, or beignets or fritters. 


Béchamel sauce
600ml whole milk
½ teaspoon peppercorns
2 bay leaves

few blades of mace or a grating of fresh nutmeg
large sprig of fresh thyme
60 grams butter
5 level tablespoons plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
Meatballs and sauce
300 grams best-quality pork and fennel sausages
1 clove garlic, crushed 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 × 400 gram can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
Spinach and pasta squares
knob of butter
130g bag baby spinach leaves
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
freshly grated nutmeg
300g lasagne festonate (I used Molisana) or lasagne sheets (use two per stack)


Béchamel sauce: Scald milk in a saucepan with peppercorns, bay leaves, mace and thyme. Cover and set aside.

In a clean pan, melt butter, stir in flour and blend in strained milk one-third at a time. Return pan to heat and stir until boiling.

Reduce heat, stir constantly for a minute or two, then add salt. Turn off heat and cover with a lid.

Meatballs and sauce: Gently squeeze sausage filling out of casing. Roll into small balls between damp palms to shape. Keep chilled until required.

Put garlic, rosemary and oil in a medium saucepan and cook for 2–3 minutes. Add tomatoes, rinse can with 1⁄4 cup water and add water and tomato concentrate to pan. Bring to a gentle bubble. Lower heat and cook gently for about 12 minutes, stirring from time to time. Do not let sauce become dry.

Add meatballs, bring back to a gentle bubble, then cook very gently for 10 minutes. Season with salt.

Spinach and pasta: Cook spinach in a little melted butter in a pan over medium-low heat until it wilts. Season with salt and freshly grated nutmeg. Turn off heat.

Cook pasta in plenty of gently boiling well-salted water until just al dente. Drain and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of oil.

To assemble: Place a strip of pasta on a lined shallow ovenproof dish. Spoon some meatballs and sauce on one end with a few blobs of béchamel sauce, a few leaves of spinach and a sprinkle of parmesan. Fold pasta over filling then put on another layer of ingredients on folded pasta. Repeat to make 4 layers. Finish with parmesan.

Bake in oven preheated to 220°C for 12–15 minutes, or until hot and bubbling. Makes 6–8 stacks