I am sure everyone has their own favourite lasagna recipe. I made mine quite often as this is one of my kids’ favourite dishes. And what makes it possible to be made frequently is the basic ingredients. You can go as fancy as using turkey meat, Italian sausages, buffalo mozzarella, fresh herbs… You can also go with some simple and easily accessible ingredients, like what I use here, minced beef, canned tomato sauce, mozzarella block…
And I love to make a big portion of it. To serve a family dinner or to pack lunch for the next day, lasagna is always such a wonderful go-to meal.
And you know it freezes really well! I like to cook and cool the lasagna completely before I keep it in the freezer. If time allows, I will simply warm the whole thing in the oven. Or I will leave it in the fridge to thaw overnight, and warm it in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Ingredients (serves 6-8):
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups canned tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups warm milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 sheets lasagna noodles
3 cups shredded mozzarella
Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion, celery and carrot. Sautee until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Add beef, and increase heat to high. Cook until browned. Sprinkle with cinnamon and thyme.
Stir in tomato sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat, cover the pan and let cook for an hour. Stir occasionally.
To prepare béchamel sauce, melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and starts bubbling. Slowly add in the warm milk while stirring. Reduce heat to low, and keep cooking until the sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking and stirring until the right consistency has developed and lump free. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 380F. Cook the lasagna in boiling water with a little oil for about 8 minutes, until al dente.
Lightly grease the baking pan. Layer three lasagna sheets on the bottom, then spread a third of the bolognese sauce on top, followed by béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Repeat until the final layer of lasagna sheets is placed. Top with the remaining béchamel sauce and cheese.
Cover the pan with aluminium foil, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling. Remove the aluminium foil, cook for another 8 minutes until the top begins to get lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.