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Lasagne is the perfect comfort food. Prep ahead and you can have this ready to put in the oven after a cold winter walk or to greet hungry guests.

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Place the dried mushrooms in a heat-proof bowl or jug, pour over the boiling water, cover, and leave aside to soak for 15 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic on a low heat for 1 minute, until just fragrant. Add the onion together with a pinch of salt, sauté for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes until the juices begin to run from the mushrooms. Now add the porcini, tearing any large pieces, as well as the water they were soaked in, which will be full of rich flavour, and pour in the red wine. Cook on a medium to high heat until the sauce thickens, so about 10 minutes or so, then leave to one side.

Meanwhile, start making the white sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and then add the flour. Combine them together with a wooden spoon or a whisk to make a roux; continue to cook on a low heat for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop the roux sticking to the base of the pan.

Warm the milk in a small pan but make sure it doesn’t boil. Start to pour the warmed milk slowly into the roux, mixing it in with a whisk to create a nice smooth sauce. Continue to cook on a low to medium heat, adding the Parmesan, lemon zest and grating over the nutmeg to taste. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and set to one side.

Cook the spinach. Wash the leaves and place them in a medium pan (the water clinging to the spinach will stop the wilting leaves from sticking to the base of the pan). Put on the lid and cook on a medium heat for 2–3 minutes until soft.

Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 180°C fan/280°F/gas mark 6.

Once you’ve blanched the pasta you will be ready to assemble the lasagne, so place your lasagne dish near to the stove top ready to layer the pasta and sauces.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil before adding a generous amount of table salt. Blanch each spinach pasta sheet for 10 seconds, working one at a time, and using tongs to lift the pasta out of the water.

Start assembling the lasagna. Place 1 or 2 blanched pasta sheets in the bottom of the dish, arranging them to completely cover the base of the dish. Spoon over a layer of white sauce, then a quarter of the mushroom mixture and finally a quarter of the spinach. Now blanch another sheet of pasta and repeat until you have created 4 layers, ending with a final layer of pasta topped with white sauce. Grate over a generous blizzard of Parmesan.

If you’re preparing this dish ahead, now’s the time to cover it and leave it in the fridge, where it will happily keep for 24 hours. If you’re preparing just an hour or two ahead it’s fine to leave out on the counter. To bake, place an ovenproof dish half-filled with boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven – this creates steam, which will give the lasagne lovely crispy edges. Just be careful when you open the oven door, stand back to let the steam escape.

Bake the lasagne on the upper shelf of the oven for 30 minutes (from room temperature), up to 40 minutes if baking straight from the fridge. The sauce should be bubbling and turning golden, and the edges nice and crispy, but just make sure it’s nice and hot in the middle.

Remove the lasagna from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes – it will be easier to cut then. Serve straightaway with more Parmesan and a dressed green salad on the side. Wine optional but always a bonus.

Vegan option:

  • Buy dried vegan lasagna sheets to replace the fresh egg dough and follow the instructions on the packet (you may still need to blanch the pasta)
  • For the white sauce, replace the butter and cows’ milk with olive oil and oat milk. The Parmesan can be replaced with extra seasoning such as nutritional yeast, which can be sprinkled between each layer
  • Top off the dish with 4 tablespoons of pangrattato