Recipe: Vince Garreffa’s meat lasagna with bechamel sauce

LASAGNA should be listed in the dictionary as meaning family food. It is a great dish for bringing people together, kids and adults alike and it is imprinted in the food memories they turn to when lonely and hungry.

There are more than a thousand recipes for lasagna and I love them all but add bechamel and it becomes my favourite way.

Ingredients for 6

  • 600g meat sauce
  • (see recipe below)
  • ½ kg lasagna sheets
  • ½ kg bechamel sauce (recipe provided below)
  • grated parmesan
  • West Australian extra virgin olive oil
  • West Australian organic lake salt


  1. To make your bechamel sauce in a frypan, melt 50g of salted butter and then add 50g sifted plain flour, stir well with a wooden spoon and fry gently until a little coloured then set aside.
  2. Now bring half a litre of milk to the boil in a saucepan then add your butter and flour mix (the roux) and mix gently over a low flame until the roux dissolves in the milk.
  3. Add a pinch of nutmeg and two bay leaves then very gently cook while stirring for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and set aside.
  5. Boil your pasta sheets until they are soft but still ‘al dente’ so we can build our lasagna.
  6. Butter your lasagna dish then add your pasta sheet or sheets and cover with the meat sauce, but not too thick.
  7. Be mean so that you can still see the pasta sheets between the spread out meat sauce.
  8. Now drizzle a few tablespoons of bechamel sauce over the meat sauce then sprinkle some parmesan over the top and repeat the process a few times (ie pasta, meat sauce, bechamel sauce, parmesan again).
  9. When you reach a thickness of about four to six centimetres, finish with a pasta sheet covered with half a centimetre of bechamel and some parmesan.
  10. Now bake for one hour at 175ºC. Rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  11. Leftovers mysteriously disappear in 48 hours.

Buon appetito

Vince’s pasta meat sauce

In your personal box of recipes, you should have the odd recipe that is the main ingredient in a variety of dishes. This is one of those recipes, very versatile and delicious. Sometimes lazy and triumphant meals can still be a recipe for happy guests.

Serves 4 to 6


  • 500 g mixed pork and beef course mince
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 diced carrot
  • 1 celery stick diced
  • 2 cans of peeled
  • tomatoes
  • ½ cup of basil
  • 1 litre of stock
  • 100 ml wine
  • West Australian extra virgin olive oil
  • West Australian organic lake salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Fry half the onion in the oil until a little coloured then add the carrot and celery and cook for two minutes.
  2. Now add the minced meat and fry, stirring occasionally, add a little more olive oil if you think it needs it. When the meat is cooked add the wine and stir.
  3. Stew together for ten minutes or until half the juices has evaporated then add the tomatoes and 250ml of stock and mix well.
  4. When the meat sauce starts to bubble, lower the heat and stir occasionally while cooking for 30 minutes.
  5. During this time add a little stock so the sauce does not dry out.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Now is the hard part. Although the sauce is ready to use and it tastes good, Italian grandmothers continue to simmer it adding stock as required for up to three hours. Every hour it tastes better and richer. You decide if you want to cook longer. Serve some with pasta or use it as a base to make other interesting dishes.
  8. The sauce stays fresh for a week in the fridge or frozen for six months.