Lasagna is a classic comfort food. Layers of pasta and ragu with the addition of some creamy bechamel and gooey cheese. Who wouldn't love this meal?
To be honest I haven't made some in a while because I misplaced my regular square baking dish and couldn't be bothered with the other dishes I have. However, I did a poll on my Instagram page and one of the requested recipes was for lasagna and now here I am having made my lasagna in an oval dish and lived to tell the tale.
Lasagna is essentially a tray bake and makes for a great social meal or family meal where everyone is serving from the same one dish. For me, because of the richness of the dish, I always have mine with a fresh garden salad dressed in a vinaigrette.
1 Packet of pasta sheets
1kg ground beef
1 litre beef stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large onion, diced
6 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 large bay leaves
2 tablespoons dry mixed herbs
250 grams Mozarella
250 grams cheddar cheese
For the Bechamel recipe, click here
*Special equipment - square or rectangular baking dish.
Pre- heat your oven to 180°C
We always start with the ragu. In a saucepan, add your onion, half the garlic and some olive oil and allow to cook over a low heat until the onions are soft. Next, you add your beef mince and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook the mince meat through until all the water cooks off.
To the beef mince, add tomato paste, dry mixed herbs, some more garlic, bay leaves and 2 litres of beef stock. Turn down the heat to medium and let the meat simmer until it has a thick sauce, around 15 to 20 minutes.
Tip: I always let the ragu reduce to a thick sauce because there nothing as gross as an over sauced, slimy lasagna. Reducing the ragu ensures that you don't end up with a pool of liquid at the bade of your lasagna dish.
Take the ragu off the heat and as it cools, prepare your bechamel using this recipe.
Once the bechamel is ready, line up the ragu, bechamel, cheese, lasagna sheets and baking dish and start the assembly line.
Coat the bottom of the dish with some bechamel and then layer some lasagna sheets over this, then a little but of cheese. Spread some ragu in a layer and top with the lasagne sheets, some bechamel and then cheese. Keep layering till the top of your dish.
Tip: Most people want to pre-soak their lasagna sheets but this is not necessary. If you buy regular lasagna sheets, the trick is to cover the lasagna with foil as it bakes, and then broil it for a couple of minutes to finish off. If you do buy the pre-soaked sheets, they take much shorter to cook and don't need to be covered in foil.
Put your lasagne in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 25 minutes. Serve while hot with a 'side' of your choice.