Lasagne is a classic Italian dish that has been enjoyed by people all over the world for many years. It consists of layers of pasta sheets, meat or vegetable sauce, and cheese, which are then baked in the oven. Making lasagne can seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of patience and preparation, it can be an enjoyable and satisfying experience.
Before we start, here are the ingredients needed to make a classic beef lasagne:
For the meat sauce:
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 500g ground beef
• 800g canned diced tomatoes
• 300ml beef stock
• 2 teaspoons dried oregano
• A pinch of salt and pepper
• 1 bay leaf
For the cheese sauce:
• 60g butter
• 60g plain flour
• 600ml milk
• 300g grated mozzarella
• 100g grated parmesan
For the pasta sheets:
• 500g fresh lasagne sheets
1. Start by preheating your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2. Start making the meat sauce by heating the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
3. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, for around five minutes.
4. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook until browned and cooked through, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the canned tomatoes, beef stock, oregano, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the pan, and bring it to a simmer.
6. Reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes, until it has thickened and become rich in flavor.
7. While the meat sauce is cooking, start making the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
8. Add the flour to the pan and stir until it forms a paste.
9. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly.
10. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens, around five minutes.
11. Reduce the heat to low and add both the mozzarella and parmesan cheese to the pan. Stir until fully melted and combined.
12. Now it’s time to assemble the lasagne. Begin by spooning a layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish.
13. Place a layer of pasta sheets on top of the meat mixture.
14. Spread a layer of cheese sauce over the pasta sheets.
15. Repeat this in layers, alternating between meat sauce, pasta sheets, and cheese sauce until you have used up all of your ingredients.
16. Cover the top layer with cheese sauce, sprinkle with a little extra Parmesan cheese if desired.
17. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly, and the pasta sheets are cooked through.
18. Remove from the oven and let it cool for around 10 minutes before serving.
Now that you’ve got your lasagne basics down, let’s answer some frequently asked questions that often arise when making this pasta dish.
1. Can I make the lasagne ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare lasagne in advance. You can cook it the day before and reheat it in the oven at 180C until it’s piping hot all the way through. Alternatively, you can leave it in the fridge, covered in foil, for up to two days and bake it when ready to serve.
2. Can I use store-bought pasta sheets or do I need to make my own?
Either option is perfectly fine. Store-bought pasta sheets will save you time and effort, but making your pasta sheets from scratch can also be rewarding and delicious.
3. Can I use different types of cheese in my lasagne?
Yes, you can switch up the cheeses in your lasagne. You can use any type of cheese that melts well, such as cheddar, Gouda, or even feta. However, mozzarella and Parmesan are the most common cheeses used in lasagne.
4. Can I make lasagne without meat?
Absolutely, lasagne does not have to include meat. You can swap it with vegetables such as roasted eggplant and zucchini, or opt for a creamy white sauce instead.
5. Can I freeze lasagne?
Yes, lasagne is a great dish to freeze. Once your lasagne has cooled, cut it into portions, and wrap each piece in plastic wrap then place them in a zip-lock bag and keep them in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, remove from the freezer, thaw, and heat in the oven at 180C for about 30 minutes.
Lasagne can seem like a complex and time-consuming dish, but it can be easy and rewarding with a little patience and prep work. Remember to enjoy the process of making lasagne, experiment with flavors, and have fun. With this recipe and these tips, you’re ready to make an excellent lasagne dinner for your family and friends. Bon appetit!