Lasagne is made with flat sheets of lasagne layered with bechamel sauce and bolognese sauce, bolognese sauce being the sauce typically used on top of spaghetti, topped with cheese, preferably mozzerella, then baked.
- 1 pan of bolognese sauce
- 1 pan of bechamel sauce
- 1-2 packs of dry flat lasagne pasta
- 250g of grated mozzerella cheese
- 20 ml olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 500g lean minced beef
- 2 x beef stock cubes
- 2 standard size cans of peeled plum tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- some fine chopped basil (from a shakable spice jar is good)
- some fine chopped oregano (from a shakable spice jar is good)
- some fine chopped parsley (from a shakable spice jar is good)
- 25-50g tomato puree
- (optional: 1 large glass red wine)
- Dice the onion into quite small pieces, like the size of a pea.
- Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan
- Stir fry the diced onion in the oil over a high heat until it's lightly browned/golden, the onion shouldn't be very hard at this point and should be reasonably squashy, while frying keep stirring to keep it cooking evenly.
- Add the minced beef, still over a high heat, stirring to break it up and cook evenly, until it's all browned, i.e. no red can still be seen.
- Add the beef stock cubes, break up as much as possible while adding to allow them to mix evenly and quickly while you stir
- Add the peeled tomatoes, reduce the heat on the pan first as this can take a little while, you should take each one from the can, hold it by the stalk at the top, then using a knife, carefully cut slices of the tomato from around the stalk directly into the pan, discard the stalk, and once all tomatoes in a can have been added to the pan, add all the tomato juice left in the can to the pan, use the knife to help filter it to stop any bits of stalk going into the pan that might be at the bottom of the can.
- Keep mixing the contents of the pan for 5 minutes, it should be bubbling a bit, while you are doing this, add the garlic. If you have a garlic press, that's ideal, put half a peeled clove in at a time, squeeze it and what comes out of the bottom, add to the pan. Discard the stringy bits left in the top of the garlic press. If you don't have a press, you can finely chop the garlic and using a spoon, mash it up on a plate of chopping board.
- Add some basil, oregano and parsley, not too much, you don't want them to be overpowering, but, enough that you can taste it a bit... it's better to put too little and add some more later than to put too much because you can't take it out afterwards.
- Add half the tomato puree, this will make the sauce look more red and smell more of tomato... If you want, add the rest for a more tomato flavour.
- Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, i.e. bubbling a little, but not too much... Check and stir every 5-10 minutes to avoid sticking or burning. You can add the wine at this point if you choose to. After 30 minutes, check the taste and add more basil and/or oregano if needed.
- 200g butter
- 200g wheat flour
- 400g milk
- Add the butter to a pan and heat over a medium level heat
- When the butter is all melted and is hot and bubbling, add the flour, stirring it lots to ensure it fully mixes with the butter becoming smooth. If you have a whisk, this would be ideal to keep it smooth.
- About 2 minutes after adding the flour, when the mixture is smooth, add a little milk and stir it in.
- Keep adding the milk, a little at a time and stirring it into the mixture, careful to keep it smooth and stop lumps forming.
- Keep stirring while the sauce gets thicker, after approximately 10 minutes, it should be sort of batter/lugaw/chocolate sauce/custard type thickness, you want it to be able to be easily poured and run into the gaps as you put together the lasagne, but you don't want it to run through the gaps too easily.
- Remove from the heat and allow the cool while the bolognese sauce is completed.
Making the Lasagne:
- At this point, switch on the oven to allow it to get hot and put a shelf in the middle ready for the lasagne...
- In the bottom of the dish you will bake the lasagne in, put a thin layer of bechamel sauce, maybe half a centimeter deep.
- Cover it fully with the lasagne pasta, if the baking dish is rounded, break the sheets to fit as best you can
- Add a layer of bolognese sauce over the entire layer of pasta
- Add a layer of bechamel sauce over the entire layer of bolognese sauce, as evenly as you can, but it doesn't have to be perfect.
- Repeat from 2 until you are getting close to the top of the dish, this might only be a couple of layers in a shallow dish, but could be up to 7 in a deep dish.
- For the top layer, put bechamel straight over the pasta, making sure it covers fully, then add the cheese over the top, covering evenly. At no place should this go above the edges of your baking dish.
- Cover the dish with aluminium foil and put into the oven on the middle shelf.
- After 30 minutes, very very carefully, using heat resistent materials, like oven gloves etc, remove the foil
- After 45 minutes, check that the cheese on top has been fully bubbling and turned light brown in places, if not, leave a little longer, if it has, remove from the oven, again, very very carefully, using oven gloves as it will be very hot.
- Serve your masterpiece :)