Most Italian women have their own way of making lasagne, and the variations range from great vegetarian varieties (great and very popular in Italy), to vegan (as good), to gluten-free or keto-friendly (by far the less similar to the real thing). They are all incredibly rich and tasty never-to-forget experiences. I make them in the most traditional way I know, as per my granny Nonna Lu🙂
This is by far my most favourite Italian dish. It is really comfort food and delicious, I always had guests praising my lasagne despite this being quite a common dish almost everywhere.
Follow me through these steps to make something truly amazing!
Ingredients (serves 6-8):
300 gr Lasagne sheets: buy them in boxes from Rummo, De Cecco, Agnesi, Barilla (this is my brands order of preference). Make sure they do not need separate pre-cooking (most of them do not). As soon as I'll make them using my own home made pasta I'll let you know.
160gr of finely grated Parmesan cheese (sorry Vegan friends, this is not negotiable)
For the Bolognese Sauce:
40 gr olive oil
700 gr mince meat (the leaner the better)
3 tins (400 gr each) of chopped tomatoes
1.5 Tbsp of tomato concentrated paste
1 large onion
4 medium garlic cloves
1 carrot (or 1/2 if larger than usual)
1 celery stick
3 good slugs of Anchovies paste (or 4 oil preserved fillets)
Half a nutmeg, grated
Freshly ground pepper, both Black and White if possible
2 bay leaves
For the Bechamel sauce:
200 gr butter or plant based margarine
200 gr flour (cream flour, not self raising)
2 litres milk (or vegetable broth if you are lactose-intolerant)
1 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese
Please see here the Bolognese sauce as Nonna Lu taught me when I was very little
If you made it in advance, bring it again up to room temperature (or a little warmer) in its pot on the hob before you start assembling your lasagne
This is to make the moment in which you are ready to assemble the full lasagne and then cook it, because Bechamel does not wait very well.
Please see this technique to make the perfect Bechamel.
Coat your baking tray (with tall sides) with a thin film of olive oil
Spread a thin layer of Bolognese sauce
Spread a single layer your lasagne pasta sheets, ensure to cover any gaps with pieces of these sheets broken to shape
Add another layer of Bolognese sauce
Add a layer of Bechamel sauce
Repeat another time (or, if the tray is deep enough, another 2 times)
Last layer must be of Bechamel sauce
Sprinkle the top aboundantly with grated Parmisan cheese
Put into a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees and let it cook for 20 minutes. Check that the top is brown but not black!
Take it out of the oven and leave it to rest uncovered for at least 10 mins before cutting it and taking the first slice out
TIP: if you are making this in advance with the intention of freezing it (it freezes quite well), once at room temperature, and if you have space in the fridge, put in the full tray for at least 2 hours. This will allow you to cut out your single portions very easily. Store them in bags, separating a portion from another with some baking paper.