Perfect is a big word, I know, but this lasanga lives up to it. It’s full of flavour, saucy and cheesy, hot and delcious. If you have time one day this week you have no excuse. Make this lasanga and if taste buds could smile, yours will be beaming! It’s a long one so lets jump right into it.
- Lasanga Sheets
- 120g Grated Cheese (mozzarella/ cheddar/ both)
- 650g Minced Beef
- 2 Medium Onions
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 Red Bell Pepper
- 1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper
- 250ml Tomato Passata
- 3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 250ml Water
- 2 Tsp Honey
- 4 Tsp Basil
- 1 Tsp Chilli flakes
- 2 1/2 Tsp Paprika
- Oil for frying
- Salt and Pepper
- 120g Butter
- 80g Flour
- 2 Tbsp Soft Cheese
- 450ml Milk
- 1/2 Tsp Parsely
- Salt and Pepper
To make the meat sauce:
- Cut up the onion, garlic and bell peppers, heat a little oil in a pan and toss the vegetables in. Cook them at a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until they are soft.
- When the vegetables have softened, add in all the spices, some salt and freshly ground pepper, stir that in and add the minced beef.
- Stir occasionally over a medium heat until the minced beef is not pink anymore.
- When the mince is cooked, add the tomato passata, tomato paste, honey and water.
- Stir everything together well and then cover and leave to simmer for at least 1 hour.
- Make sure to occasionally stir the meat sauce during this hour, I suggest every 10-15 mins or so just so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. The sauce will thicken and reduce while developing a simply delicious flavour.
To make the Bechamel Sauce:
When the meat sauce has been simmering for about a 30/40 mins, you can begin the bechamel so everything gets done roughly at the same time.
- Melt the butter in a pot and add the flour when the butter is 100% liquid.
- Whisk the butter and flour together over a low heat and it should come together in a soft dough-like form. whisk this for a while just to cook out the flour, 3 or so minutes.
- Add the milk to the butter and flour 100mls at a time, if you add it in all at once, you might get lumps in your sauce, if you’re somehow lucky enough to avoid lumpy bechamel, I’m sure your stove top will be covered with milk splatters. I guarantee one of those will get you, so please 100mls at a time.
- Once all the milk has been added, add the soft cheese, parsely, salt and pepper and give that a good whisk. At this point you can take a spoon and taste to see if the bechamel is floury. If it is just cook the sauce for a few more minutes, whisking so that it doesn’t burn on the buttom.
Everyone has their own way in which they like to assemble their lasanga, and none is right or wrong. This is how I like to do it:
- Spread a layer of bechamel sauce on the base of casserole dish and place the lasanga sheets on that.
- Spread a layer of meat sauce over the sheets and spread a layer of bechamel over the meat sauce, you can sprinkle a bit of cheese on the bechamel if you like.
- Cover that layer with lasange sheets and repeat. Lasanga requires a bit of logic, build up the layers until you are almost at the top of your casserole dish or until you are running out of sauces. I got 4 layers in my 6 by 10 inch glass dish, it is slighty tapered so it is narrower at the bottom and wider at the top.
- On my third layer, I do the remainder of my meat sauce only and cover that with my fourth and final lasanga sheet layer, on top of which goes the remainder of my bechamel and cheese.
- Bake in the oven at 170 degrees C/ 338 degrees F for 25 minutes and then at 200 degrees C/ 392 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes to brown the cheese a bit.
- Once the lasanga is baked, leave it the sit out of the oven for about 10/20 minutes, it will cut better and hold its shape nicely.
- Once everything is served up, look outside, I hope it’s raining so you can appreciate that you’re inside with a plate of warm, delicious lasanga, just imagine that!