- Yield: 6-8
- Prep Time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 4h 00 min
There are few things that are as comforting and satisfying as a classic Italian meat lasagna. I remember how my family would go to Italian restaurants every once in a while after my mom started learning the language and everyone was so into pizza. But all I wanted was lasagna.
If nothing can make me leave the house, the prospect of a steaming hot lasagna can. It's my ultimate guilty pleasure and - I admit - I have been eating cold lasagna out of the fridge for breakfast in the morning.
After all these revelations, it's time to reveal the recipe which is a very classic one from Northern Italy. It combines a hearty meat sauce with a creamy bechamel sauce, lasanga pasta sheets, and just a little bit mozarella and parmesan on top.
*The recipe below is the direct 'make & bake' way. The dish is perfectly suited for advance prep. Simply cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days or freeze for up to 4 weeks. To serve, let come to room temperature and bake as directed.
- For the Meat Sauce
- Ground Beef - 2 lbs, I use 85/15
- Onion - 1 medium sized, diced
- Salary - 3 stalks, diced
- Carrots - 3, diced
- Garlic - 3 gloves, diced
- Tomato Paste - 1 small can
- Canned Tomatoes - 24oz, Diced, in juice
- White Wine - 1 cup
- Rosmary - 1 tsp, finely minced
- Thyme - 1 tsb
- Oregano - 1 tbsp, dried
- Beef Broth - about 2 - 3 cups
- Salt, Pepper
- For the Bechamel Sauce
- Butter - 4 tbsp
- All Purpose Flour - 4 tbsp
- Whole Milk - 4 cups
- Parmesan - 1 cup, grated (optional)
- Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
- Salt, pepper
- To assemble the Lasagna
- No-cook Lasagna Sheets - 1 package
- Mozarella Cheese - 1-2 cups, shredded
- Parmesan - 1 cup, grated
- Make the Meat Sauce
- Brown the ground beef in a very large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot. Salt and pepper right away.
- Strain to get rid of excess fat and set aside.
- In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and add the onions, carrots and celery. Salt, pepper, and brown for about 15 minutes, stiring frequently.
- Add the garlic and stir until just fragrant, then add the tomato paste.
- Roast for another 5 minutes and deglaze the pot with the white wine, making sure to get all the browned bits from the bottom.
- Add the tomatoes and herbs, stir, salt, pepper, and add the meat back in.
- Top off with the beef broth. You want the broth to almost reach the top of the meat. Stir everything, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
- Tilt the lid and simmer for another hour to thicken the sauce.
- Make the Bechamel Sauce
- Melt the butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan.
- Add the flour, whisk, and cook for at least a minute to get rid of any flour taste in your finished sauce
- Add the milk, all at once and whisk everything together.
- Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, and bring to a boil, whisking very frequently.
- Once the sauce has thickened enough, turn off the head and - if using - stir in the parmesan cheese until it is well incorporated.
- Assemble the Lasagna:
- I'm using a 9x9 baking dish that happens to be very deep. If your isn't very deep, you might be better off with a 9x15 dish.
- Put a little bit sauce into the bottom of your dish and spread it evenly.
- Lay down a layer of pasta. It doesn't have to be perfect but should cover most of the surface. You can break/cut the sheets to make little pieces to fit corners .
- Put some meat sauce over the pasta sheets and spread. You want a nice thin layer over sauce.
- Sprinkle some of the Bechamel sauce over the pasta sauce. It doesn't have to be fully covered, it will spread during the baking anyway.
- Repeat steps 3 - 5 until you either run out of an ingredient or your dish is full.
- Sprinkle with mozarella and parmesan cheese
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350° Fahrenheit for 30 - 45 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.
- Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting it, so the lasagna can set.