An oldie but a goodie! Lasagna is a family favourite and super easy to prep ahead of time. And you can always freeze those left overs and whip them out if you find yourself short on time. Everyone has their own take on lasagna and this is mine! I’m calling it the “Best Lasagna Ever” and it’s the best, because you made it!!
Lasagna is also an easy meal to make 2 batches of so if you have the time share the love with a bestie! Take the dinner burden off a friend for the night and they might return the favour!
Serving size: 6
Prep time : 30 mins (depends how much of a rush you are in)
Cook time: 40mins -60mins on 180 degrees
- 1tsp Olive Oil
- 500g mince (Beef, Pork, Turkey, options are unlimited)
- 2 onions diced
- 3 gloves of garlic or 5tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp Keens Curry Powder
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
- 700mls Tomato Passata
- 400g tin diced tomato
- 60gm Tomato Paste
- Optional extra:
- A couple of slugs of last nights red wine, assuming there is some left over.
- 3 tbs Basil Pesto
White Sauce (My spin on a traditional Bechamel)
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs plain flour
- 1- 1.5 cups milk
- 375g tub of Ricotta
- 1/2 cup Tasty Cheese
Additional Assembly ingredients
- 1 packet fresh/dried pasta sheets. (I prefer the texture of the fresh pasta sheets once cooked.)
- 2 Zucchini, peeled into thin lengths
- 2 cups spinach
- Shredded/Grated Cheese any type, the more the merrier this is all about presentation.
- Add the olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat, and add onion and garlic and fry off until onion is translucent. (Not brown)
- Add the mince. (If you haven’t used a lean beef, this is where I would tend to drain the excess liquid off before adding our flavour. I generally stick more towards the leaner meat options like Pork or Turkey.)
- Once the mince is brown add the curry powder, salt and pepper to taste, and Worchestershire Sauce. Stir and let this simmer down.
- If you have last night bottle of red wine handy, pour in as much as you can bare to part with. If it’s past 4pm and the kids are cracking it, probably a good time to pour yourself a glass too. (No judging here!) Let the liquid simmer down with the mince absorbing the flavour.
- Now grab your passata, canned tomatoes add that all in and give it a good stir, this is also when I would add the Basil Pesto, but not everyone is a fan, so totally up to you. Turn down the heat to low and let it simmer away. If it’s looking pretty liquidy add the tomato paste to help with reducing the sauce down. Keep on a simmering heat stirring occasionally.
- While the red sauce is reducing, grab out a medium size pot and put it on low heat.
- Add your butter until melted and then stir in the flour until you form a doughy ball.
- Add a table spoon of milk in at a time, stirring constantly. The tricky part here is the lumps, so add the milk slowly to make a paste to begin with, more milk as it gets thicker again, stir, more milk, stir, thicker and then probably the remaining milk. The aim is to blend in the milk, while not allowing the mixture to become thick and lumpy. Stir constantly until your thin sauce starts to thicken. Do not let it boil or it will go lumpy.
- I generally become impatient at this time with the white sauce, and this is when I discovered adding Ricotta works a treat. So get that ricotta in there and stir. Add the tasty cheese too. Now we are looking for a thicker sauce that when stirring you can see a trail left behind from the spoon. Once happy with the consistency of the white sauce, take off heat.
- Time to turn that oven on to 180c if you haven’t already,
- Back to your red sauce, hopefully by now the red sauce is looking pretty good. Give it a taste, and adjust as needed. This should be thick now too, we aren’t looking for a sloppy sauce, as this will just become a big mess on the plate. (If you have toddlers you are just avoiding the inevitable anyway.)
- When you are happy with the consistency of the red sauce, remove from heat.
- Get your baking dish, and add a ladle full of white sauce to the bottom of your dish and spread around covering the bottom of the dish. This will help prevent the pasta sheet from sticking to the bottom when it’s time to serve.
- Add your first layer of pasta sheets.
- With a separate ladle/spoon place 2-3 ladles of mince sauce on top of the pasta. (I use 2 separate spoons because I don’t want my red sauce mixing with my white sauce, but hey, use what’s available.)
- Then add enough white sauce to cover the top of the red sauce.
- Now this is where you want to plant your bomb for the kids while they are eating. Mine go nuts! So right in the middle of your assembly add the 1 cups of spinach on top of the white sauce. We need to sneak those vegetables in where we can, so add the strips of zucchini on top of the spinach! Get them with a double banger of nutrients and watch their little faces drop when they can see the green bits!
- Add another layer of pasta sheets to cover zucchini, then another 2 ladles of red sauce.
- Now this is where you come to judgment time! Do you have enough white sauce to go this layer and enough red sauce to go another whole layer? :/ I’m thinking maybe not! So add the rest of your red sauce and then you guessed it, more spinach and zucchini if there is any left straight on top of the red sauce. Living life on the edge right here!
- If you are willing to risk it to get the biscuit, add another layer of white sauce, and the veg on top of the white sauce instead. Then go another complete layer of pasta, red sauce and vegetable, you made the call earlier so no backing out now! The risk here is that we won’t have enough white sauce to get that presentable white layer with golden cheese on top! But go with your gut! It always knows best.
- We should now be all at the stage where we add our final layer of pasta sheets covering the vegetables. The conservatives will have done 2 complete layers while those with that like to live a little will have gone for 3.
- You will have passed the test if you are able to add another complete layer of white sauce on top of the pasta. If you are falling short, spread thinly, or add more ricotta to make what’s left go further, because in the end it’s lasagna and it all tastes pretty amazing.
- So after the stress of running the layering gauntlet it’s now time to get cheesy!! Add as much shredded/grated cheese as you desire, go cheesy, go minimal it’s up to you! Mozzarella, Parmesan, tasty the choices are endless. Just sprinkle on top until you are satisfied with your masterpiece.
- Place in heated oven, and bake for 40-60 minutes or so. The cheese should be golden and melted on top, and if you stick a knife through it, it should go through without any resistance from the pasta sheets.
Take it out, allow to cool and serve. It’s going to be pretty freaking hot, so you might have to battle with the young ones if they are screaming while it cools down. A good time to finish that bottle of red if you haven’t already done so.
So that’s my take on an Italian classic. Let me know how you go in the comments below, and what makes your lasagna stand out!