This Sausage and Fennel Lasagne is absolutely bursting with flavour! It’s the easy and delicious twist on a classic lasagne that you never knew you needed.
‘What’s wrong with a classic lasagne?’ I hear you cry! Stick with me here, I promise this non traditional lasagne is a total winner. I’ve seen some whacky lasagne variations in my time, from Mexican lasagne right through to dessert lasagne 😳 This sausage version doesn’t stray too far from the classic, but still offers a really tasty and noticeable difference. Here’s why you’re going to love this variation just as much (if not more):
- Sausage and Fennel – Sausage and fennel is a beautiful combo that is celebrated in all it’s glory here.
- Flavour – Sausage/Pork is much richer in flavour in comparison to beef.
- Texture – Sausage also tends be softer and juicer than beef.
Sausage and Fennel Ragu
Now this is the star of the show. It’s rich, flavoursome, soft and juicy. It’s fairly similar to my Sausage Ragu Pappardelle, just with a few tweaks.
Sausage and Fennel Ragu Key Ingredients
- Sausage – You’ll find ground sausage meat in most supermarkets/grocery stores. If you can’t find any, just grab some good quality ‘neutral flavoured’ sausages and squeeze the meat out the skin.
- Fennel – You’ll need dried whole fennel seeds, which are widely available in the seasoning section. From there you just need to crush them (I’ve added a section on this in the recipe card).
- Thyme & Bay Leaves – No other herbs needed! Just enough to add a gentle background flavour, but not too much the fennel is overpowered.
- Red Wine – All good ragus have red wine – hey, I don’t make the rules 😁
How to make Sausage and Fennel Ragu (quick summary)
- Brown sausage.
- Remove. Add celery, carrot, onion, garlic.
- Toast fennel seeds.
- Add tomato puree.
- Fry tomato puree.
- Deglaze with red wine.
- Add sausage back in.
- Pour in tomato passata and seasoning. Simmer.
All good lasagnes are made with a bechamel sauce – again, I don’t make the rules 🤣 Unlike the American style version (Lasagna with an ‘a’ at the end), this version uses a homemade bechamel sauce, in contrast to a ricotta based layer. Here’s what you’ll need for a simple bechamel sauce:
Bechamel Sauce Ingredients
Just like the ragu, it’s important to thicken the sauce before layering the lasagne. It should easily coat the back of a wooden spoon. If the consistency is too thin, the lasagne will come out sloppy.
How to make Bechamel Sauce (quick summary)
- Melt butter.
- Stir in flour to form a paste.
- Gradually whisk in milk until thick.
- Stir in parmesan, nutmeg and seasoning.
How to Layer Lasagne
There is no real written rule on how to layer a lasagne, so long as you distribute the fillings out evenly.
Can I make Sausage and Fennel Lasagne in advance?
Yep! Just ensure the ragu and bechamel sauce cool before layering the lasagne (or the sheets will start to cook and the lasagne will come out soft and mushy). Just cool, cover and store in the fridge for up to 24hours before cooking. Cook at the same temp, just consider adding an extra 5-10mins (or bring to room temp before baking). Or, store in the freezer for up to a month, then thaw in the fridge and cook accordingly.
Fresh vs Dried Lasagne Sheets
I always go fresh. I prefer the texture and the lasagne stays intact better. They also don’t come out so wavy. If you’ve only got dried sheets then just check the packet to see if you need to cook before hand. If you don’t need to cook them, then don’t reduce the ragu so much (the dried sheets will suck up more liquid than fresh).
How to Layer Sausage and Fennel Lasagne (quick summary)
- Spread layer of ragu to stop pasta sticking.
- Add pasta sheets (1).
- Top with Ragu (2).
- Pour over bechamel sauce (3).
- Add mozzarella (4).
- Repeat and finish with parmesan.
That 4 layers of each (including ragu at the bottom)
What to serve with Sausage Lasagne?
- Roasted Garlic Bread
- Cheesy Pesto Garlic Bread
- Cheesy Caprese Pull Apart Bread
- Garlic Butter Potato Skins
- Feta Bruschetta
- Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread
And there we have it! If I haven’t sold a sausage lasagne to you now I never will 🤣 Hey, whilst you’re here, why not check out my other recipes!?
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full sausage fennel lasagne recipe!
How to make Sausage and Fennel Lasagne (Full Recipe & Video)
Sausage and Fennel Lasagne
- 9" x 13" Baking Dish (or similar size)
- Large Pot with Heavy Lid (for ragu)
- Medium Pot & Whisk (for bechamel sauce)
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Serve Spoon (to spread layers)
- Box Grater
Ingredients (check list):
- 2lb / 1kg Ground Sausage Meat (see notes)
- 4 cups / 1 litre Tomato Passata (Pureed Tomatoes in US)
- 1/2 cup / 125ml Red Wine
- 2 stalks of Celery, finely diced
- 2 medium Carrots, grated
- 1 large White Onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Whole Fennel Seeds, crushed (see notes)
- 2 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3-4 small sprigs of Fresh Thyme, leaves only (can sub 1 tsp dried Thyme)
- 1 tsp Sugar, or to taste
- Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
- Olive Oil, as needed
- 4 cups / 1 litre Milk, at room temp
- 5 tbsp Flour
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 1/2 small Nutmeg, grated
- 1 cup / 80g Freshly Grated Parmesan
- Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
- 12oz / 350g Fresh Lasagne Sheets (see notes)
- 2 cups / 200g Mozzarella, shredded
- 1/2 cup / 40g Freshly Grated Parmesan, to top
- Fresh Parsley, to serve
- Add a drizzle of oil to a large pot over medium-high heat and add your sausage. Break it up with a wooden spoon until it begins to brown, then season with salt and pepper. Continue frying until nice and golden, then pour into your baking dish (discard fat as necessary).
- Add more oil if you need and lower temp to medium. Add celery, carrot and onion and begin frying until they begin to soften and brown. Add garlic, continue frying for another 1-2mins then clear a hole in the centre of your pot.
- Add fennel seeds and allow to toast for 1-2mins, then stir with everything in the pot. Clear another circle and add your tomato puree. Allow to fry for 1-2mins, the stir with everything in the pan.
- Pour in red wine and deglaze with your wooden spoon. Leave to simmer for 5mins, then pour in passata. Add thyme, bay leaves and sugar, salt and black pepper to taste. Pop on a (heavy) lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour 30 mins (important to simmer for at LEAST an hour to marry together the flavours and tenderise the meat). Take off lid and simmer for another 10mins, or until nice and thick (see video for consistency & see notes). Meanwhile...
- In a medium sized pot over medium heat, add butter and stir until melted. Stir through flour to form a paste, then gradually whisk in milk. Allow to simmer for 5-10mins until it thickens, then stir through parmesan, nutmeg and salt & pepper to taste. You want the sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but not so thick it won't pour.
- Pre heat oven to 356F/180C.
- In a 9x13" (or close to) baking dish, spread a few spoons of sausage ragu. This is just so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom.
- Your layers will then go as follows: Pasta sheets, Ragu, Bechamel Sauce, Mozzarella. The last layer will be pasta sheets, then Bechamel, then mozzarella and parmesan to top. That's 4 layers of pasta, 4 layers of Ragu (including very bottom layer), 4 layers of Bechamel and 4 layers of mozzarella.
- Pop in the oven for 30-40mins or until the surface is deep golden (Some 'burnt' parts are fine, extra flavour). Let it sit for at least 15mins. This is important or it will be too liquidy. That and it'll burn the roof of your mouth off.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley then tuck in!
Quick 1 min demo!
- Pestle & Mortar
- Zip Lock Bag - Just pop them in a bag a smash with a rolling pin.
- Chopping Board & Oil - Place on a chopping board and drizzle with a little oil. You can then dice them with a sharp knife without them bouncing everywhere.
Your Private Notes:
For more similar recipes check out these beauties:
Easy Sausage Recipes
- Sausage and Bean Casserole
- Crispy Gnocchi with Sausage Meatballs
- Penne Arrabiata with Smoked Sausage
- Sausage Pasta in a Sun Dried Tomato & Mascarpone Sauce
- Sausage Orecchiette
Family Comfort Food Recipes
- Mum’s Traditional Cottage Pie
- Dad’s Famous Chilli Con Carne
- Toad in the Hole
- Herb Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
- Spaghetti Bolognese