I have been umming and ahhing about whether or not to do this post. Lasagna is one of those dishes that everyone has a recipe for. It’s a weirdly personal meal. You can go to 3 different houses and experience 3 completely different tasting lasagnas. My mother even made a vegetarian one once. That was… an experience.
My recipe relies on simplicity and good ingredients, which you will recognise as my calling card when it comes to recipes. Make it good, make it simple.
Lasagna is a dish best served at literally any temperature. From roof of your mouth burning, straight out of the oven to sneaking in bites the morning after until there’s barely a portion left. I think that I have tasted the entire temperature spectrum of lasagna and, while I wouldn’t advise scorching yourself, I can’t say for certain which is my favourite. It’s a dish that keeps on giving.
The best part, for me, is that Anna doesn’t like lasagna (I know, right?!? What a weirdo). Something to do with not liking the layers and how it’s mixed together. This means that when I make one of my ridiculous portions, I get to eat it all. So I’m going to be making it all the time. Just kidding… kind of.
Anyway, I am not going to stand here and say that this is the definitive lasagna recipe. The recipe to end all recipes. I am not Italian and, therefore, cannot make that claim. I can, however, say that it’s a bloody good lasagna. This isn’t just my sentiment. I have shared this with people who are not the Noodle and they have all said it’s very good. They actually used more loquacious wording than that, I just don’t want to harp on about how amazing I am. I’ll leave that to you fine people.
It is simple, it is delicious and you will want to make it more than once.
Before we get cracking on this lasagna, you are going to need to make some Bechamel sauce (I knew that recipe would come in handy). Don’t worry, you can do it. I believe in you, imaginary person.
Also, I have occasionally made my own pasta. I’m not going to ask you to do this right now as the blog post would be massive. Suffice it to say, it becomes exponentially more difficult when you lose your rolling pin and try to do it with a wine bottle. Let’s just say you end up with a baked lasagna sandwich. Not a bad thing, just not what I was expecting.
Here goes. Buon Appetito!
500g Mince (any. I’ve used chicken, beef, pork, turkey. Once I even used blended kidney beans)
1 Red Onion
3-4 Salad Tomatoes
2 Cloves Garlic
Oregano (I’ve recently used fresh instead of dried and the difference is night and day. If you can, use fresh, it’s unreal)
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
Teaspoon of Brown Sugar
Maybe Red Wine (we’ll see if it’s necessary)
Good Quality Stock (I really like the Knorr Stock Pots, but feel free to use others if you have them instead)
CHEEESE!! (I tend to use mozzarella because I love the stuff but you can use whichever you prefer)
- Preheat your oven to about 160-180 degrees C.
- Finely chop your onion and garlic.
- Dice the tomatoes.
- Put it all into a bowl and toss with your herbs (not the fresh basil) and a little bit of olive oil.
- Heat up some more oil in a large skillet or frying pan.
- Crumble in your mince, try to avoid big lumps but don’t do yourself a mischief trying to sort them out.
- When the meat starts to brown, throw in your veggies.
- Stir it all up, throw in your stock and then put the lid on your pan… unless you lost it like it did, then just use a plate.
- Leave it to simmer for about 10 minutes. This is why I don’t use tinned tomatoes, because the meat, tomatoes et al create a wonderful sauce on their own. If it’s a little dry, pour in a bit of water or a small glass of red wine.
- Sprinkle in your parmesan cheese. Parmesan is quite a salty cheese so bear that in mind on the next step.
- Season, season, season. Taste it at every step and add a little salt and pepper at a time. Bear in mind, I don’t think you can over do pepper but you can definitely over do salt. Then you have to put a potato in and hope it takes the salinity out or you’ve just ruined a perfectly good meal.
- Now that the sauce is cooked. It’s time to layer your lasagna like a boss:
In order of application:
(I once put a layer of thinly sliced, grilled courgette in between these layers and it was pretty decent)
White Sauce (with fresh basil leaves torn up and mixed in)
CHEEEEEEEESE! So much cheese!!
13. Now, put it in the oven, leave it for about 30-40 minutes (until the cheese goes all bubbly and crispy).
14. Take it out, let it cool down. Seriously. I know it will look delicious and you just want to dive in, don’t. I still can’t taste certain flavours and my last lasagna was ages ago.
Serve with a rocket salad or something of that ilk. I don’t understand people who have garlic bread with lasagna, you people are weird. There are already enough carbs, you monster!