2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for greasing)
1 small onion (peeled and chopped)
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes (or 1/2 teaspoon pouring salt, or to taste)
500 grams minced beef
60 ml red wine or vermouth
1 litre tomato passata (plus 1 litre / 1 quart water)
2 balls mozzarella (not buffalo) (each 125g / 4 oz drained weight)
500 grams lasagne sheets (dried not fresh)
350 grams cooked ham (thinly sliced)
4 tablespoons grated parmesan
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6/400ºF. Put the eggs into a pan of water, bring to the boil and let it boil for 7 minutes, then pour off the water and sit the pan under an abundantly flowing cold tap; turn it off and leave the pan filled with cold water in the sink until the eggs are cool enough to peel.
Warm the oil in a large, heavy-based pan (that comes with a lid), then add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and let it cook for a few minutes until it begins to soften.
Add the meat and turn it in the pan just long enough for the raw red colour to turn brown.
Add the wine or vermouth, then the passata, pouring the water into the empty passata bottle or carton and swilling it out into the pan. Bring to a bubble, then put the lid on the pan and cook at a robust simmer for 5 minutes.
Peel and finely slice the eggs (which will crumble into a mess), and finely slice the mozzarella; then put a deep, greased lasagne dish, measuring approx 34 x 23 x 6cm / 9 x 13 x 2 inches, onto a baking sheet and get ready for the grand assembly.
First, put a ladleful or so of very runny meat sauce into the bottom of the lasagne dish, to line the base, then arrange a layer of lasagne sheets – using about a quarter of them – on top, to cover the sauce – don’t worry about a bit of overlapping.
Add another ladleful of sauce, just to wet the sheets, then add a layer of ham slices, using up a third of them, before dotting with a third of the egg and of the mozzarella slices.
Now add a second layer of lasagne sheets, then a couple of ladlefuls of sauce, followed again by a third of the ham, then egg, then mozzarella slices.
Repeat with a further layer of lasagne sheets, another 2 ladlefuls of meat sauce, then the remaining ham, egg and mozzarella slices, before topping with a final layer of lasagne sheets.
Pour the remaining sauce over the top, sprinkle with the Parmesan and cover with foil – making sure the edges are sealed – and put in the oven still on the baking sheet, for 1 hour.
When the hour is up, remove the foil, to reveal the top layer runkled like a Shar Pei made of pasta, and push a knife point through the lasagne to check it is soft – if not, re-cover it and return to the oven for about 10 minutes – then let it stand uncovered, out of the oven, for 15-20 minutes (although I love this barely above room temperature if I can bear the wait)