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The key is in its simplicity: good-quality beef, and a good white sauce, cooked with care and attention, and fresh peas.


Serves 8


3 tbsp olive oil

1kg lean beef mince, free-range organic

6 ladles of mixed veg soup

About 400g dried pasta sheets, gluten free flour will work

80g cheddar cheese, grated

1½ ltr full fat milk, oat milk will work

100g butter

100g plain flour, gluten free flour will work

Salt and pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C

Tip in the beef mince. Using a wooden spoon, stir together and break up and mash the lumps of mince against the sides of the pan.

When the mince is mostly broken down, stir in the mixed veg soup and bring to a simmer, you may need to add another ladle or two depending on the sixe of your ladle.

Let it gently simmer for up to an hour, stirring occasionally to stop the bottom catching, or until the meat is tender. Taste and season.

To make the béchamel sauce, melt 100g butter in a saucepan then, using a wooden spoon, mix in 100g plain flour and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in the milk, a little at a time – the mix will thicken at first to a doughy paste, but keep going, adding milk gradually to avoid lumps.

When all the milk is in, bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly (if you have lumps, give it a quick whisk). Gently bubble for a few mins until thickened.

Season with salt, pepper and a good grating of cheese.

Spread a spoonful of the meat sauce over the base of a baking dish. Cover with a single layer of dried pasta sheets, snapping them to fit if needed, then top with a quarter of the béchamel.

Repeat the layers – meat, pasta, béchamel – two more times. Once you've added the final layer of pasta, the last of the béchamel then add the remaining cheese.

Sit the dish on a baking tray to catch spills and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbling, browned and crisp on top.


Serve with carrots and peas, a salad and garlic bread.

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