For me, making lasagne usually consists of throwing together whatever I have left over in the fridge. I could be using pork, beef or meat from sausages. Maybe some bacon, carrot, celery or not. No parmesan ?... not a problem..have cheddar. Ricotta or belchamel sauce .. or in this case both. :)
Lasagne to me is a highly flexible and revolving dish to say the least.
For this lasagne recipe I used some leftover ricotta and threw in some cherry tomatoes that seemed to be nearing its use-by-date.
Not sure which recipe I first learnt how to make lasagne, but i think I can call this one an astrogirl original.
Marinade the meat with:
- 1 kg of beef
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of corn flour
- couple of grinds of fresh pepper
And if you want to spice it up a bit more, you can add in 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds and cumin. Set this aside to rest.
Base ingredients - 1st into the pot:
- Olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
- 1 large brown onion (chopped)
- 3 slices of bacon (chopped)
- 1 carrot (finely grated)
- couple of grinds of salt & pepper
In a dutch oven (or large pot), on medium heat add olive oil and the rest of the above ingredients in that order. Once the onions have started to sweat a bit (about 3 mins), add in the marinated mince.
For the tomato based meat sauce:
- 2x cans of whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 cup of red wine
- 1 tablespoon of white sugar
- dried herbs (eg. oregano, basil - if not using fresh herbs)
- 1 bunch of fresh basil (leaves only - if you have it)
Once the beef has started to brown and cook through, add in tomatoes, paste, red wine and dried herbs. Leave the fresh basil till later. Cover and simmer for about 1 hr.
Preheat the oven to 180C
About 45 mins into the cooking, start preparing the belchamel sauce. Also soak your lasgagne noodles into a hot water bath for about 15 mins.
Belchamel Sauce (cheese sauce):
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of plain flour
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/2 cup of grated cheese (I used cheddar)
- 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
- salt & pepper to taste
Make a roux with the butter and flour, then gradually add milk. Once everything has combined smoothly, add in cheese, nutmeg and some salt & pepper to taste.
Assembling the Lasagne:
- Put a bit of the cheese sauce into the bottom of the lasagne pan.
- Place 1 layer of lasagne noodles on top
- Spread 1 layer of tomato meat sauce over the lasagne noodles
- Add a layer of cheese sauce on top of this.
- Cover sauce with a layer of lasagne noodles.
- Repeat until the lasagne pan is nearly full.
As mentioned before, I had some ricotta cheese leftover (less than about 100g) and some cherry tomatoes. I also ended up with quite a bit of basil. So I used these to create a topping with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
- Ricotta cheese
- cherry tomatoes (split into halves)
- parmesan cheese
- salt & pepper
This part is totally optional. If you want a normal topping, just finish the lasagne off with a final layer of the cheese sauce and top with some parmesan cheese and salt & pepper.
Place into the preheated oven for about 45 mins.
Lasagne is also one of those dishes that I make in the hopes it would at least last us for the next three to four days. And Yes, it does taste better the next day. Unfortunately, this one only lasted two days with the boys.