Lasagna is a type of pasta. It is usually served in superimposed sheets interspersed with layers of ingredients to taste, most often meat (ragú) in bolognese sauce and béchamel sauce. Its origin is Italian and the dish usually prepared with meat is usually called baked lasagna.1 Baked lasagna can also be made with vegetables (spinach, aubergines, etc.) or fish.2 It ends with bechamel and plenty of grated cheese to gratin it in the oven. The word “lasagna” comes from the ancient Greek “lasanon”, through the Latin “lasanum”, which refers to the pot in which it was cooked. The singular word in Italian is lasagna and in plural lasagne is applied indistinctly to the plate or to the pasta in the form of sheets. It is a hot starter or first dish that is usually eaten in winter or in the cold periods of spring.
Check out a perfect lasagna recipe for you to make at home!
The key to the best-tasting lasagne is a really rich and tasty ragu and loads of cheese. I’m going to show you how to make my version today.
Lasagne is such a family favorite and it’s surprisingly easy to make we’re going to start by making the ragu.
- Meat Sauce/Ragu
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
1 carrot peeled and finely diced
3 chestnut (brown) mushrooms finely diced
1 pound (500g) minced beef (ground beef) 12-20% fat, don’t go for the really lean stuff, it’s too dry
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 beef stock cube crumbled
28 oz (2 x 400g) canned chopped tomatoes
½ tbsp light brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
- Béchamel Sauce
4 tbsp butter salted or unsalted is fine
4 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
3 cups (720ml) full fat milk
1 pinch salt and pepper
1 packed cup (100g) cheddar cheese grated
pinch of nutmeg optional
50 g mozzarella grated or chopped finely
50 g strong cheddar grated
12 sheets of dried lasagne the kind you don’t need to pre-cook
1 3/4 cups (175g) mixed grated cheese. I use a combination of regular cheddar, red cheddar and mozzarella
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- I’m going to add a tablespoon of olive oil to a frying pan and heat over a medium to high heat then we had a diced onion and cook for five minutes stirring often until the onion starts to soften.
- Add two cloves of minced garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Next in goes a finely diced carrot and three finely diced mushrooms, if you’ve seen my spaghetti bolognaise. We’re gonna cook that for two to three minutes.
- Next in goes 450 grams or a pound of mince beef, try to go with some good quality beef and don’t go with the low fat stuff you want 12 to 20 percent fat for the most flavor.
- Cook that for 5 to 6 minutes until browned all over breaking up any large chunks as you go.
- Next in goes 3 tablespoons of tomato puree, a teaspoon of dried oregano, and half a teaspoon of dried thyme.
- Now add in a tablespoon of Worcester sauce and a crumbled beef stock cube.
- Add two 400g or 14oz tins of chopped tomatoes, half a tablespoon of brown sugar and half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- Stir everything together and bring it to the boil and turn down the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While that bubbling away we’re going to preheat the oven to 200 C or 400 F and make a start on the bechamel sauce.
- Add 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter to a medium saucepan and melt it over a medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted its bubbling slightly add in 4 tablespoons of plain all-purpose flour and whisk it into the butter, keep stirring the roux with a whisk over a medium heat for about a minute just to cook the flour through.
- Add in a good splash of milk turn up the heat and stir with the whisk to incorporate. Keep adding in the milk a splash at a time and stir in with the whisk until all the milk is used up, don’t worry if you’ve got a few lumps in there they’ll disappear as the sauce thickens.
- Once thickened add in 100 grams or a packed cup of grated cheddar cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper stir it together and then turn off the heat.
- Now we’re going to layer up the lasagne, we’re going to place a couple of spoonfuls of the meat sauce on the base of the dish you don’t need too much it’s just enough to stop the pasta from sticking.
- Now cover the sauce with 4 lasagne sheets you might need to break the lasagne sheets up a little bit just to make sure they fit with the shape of your pan but try to make sure they don’t overlap.
- Now top the pasta with 1/3 of your white sauce.
- Add a third of your meat sauce.
- Repeat twice more so it’s pasta, white sauce, meat sauce, pasta, white sauce, meat sauce and finish off by sprinkling on the cheese I’ve got 175 grams or 1 and 3/4 cups of mixed mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
- Then place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese is golden and the lasagne is bubbling slightly at the edges.
- Sprinkle with a little parsley and you’re ready to serve!