If you love Italian food, a classic lasagne is probably high on your list of favourites. This pasta dish is so much loved all over the world that there is a day dedicated to it. Yes, 29 July is the day to celebrate this layered delicious dish.
Preparing a classic lasagne is so much tastier than the ready-made alternative you can get in the groceries store. The delicate balance between the layers of pasta sheets, minced meat and béchamel sauce results in an appetising meal steaming with flavour. The best is the sprinkled cheese on top that grills to a gooey and crispy deliciousness.
Although it is generally accepted that pasta originated in Italy, the idea of pasta layers with a sauce started in Ancient Greece. So, if you love classic lasagne as much as we do, make sure you prepare this palatable dish today. It is lasagne day after all!
Serve with a crispy side salad and enjoy with a glass of red wine.
- 5 tablespoons flour
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 litre milk, or more if the sauce is too thick
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
LASAGNE MEAT SAUCE AND LAYERING
- lasagne sheets
- 1 kg lean mincemeat
- 2 onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- olive oil
- fresh origanum
- 600 g tomato and basil pasta sauce (Woolworths has a delicious brand)
- cayenne pepper
- Boil the pasta sheets before assembling. Add olive oil in the water to prevent the sheets from sticking and stir them occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Transfer each cooked lasagna sheet carefully into a large bowl or pot filled with cool water to help stop the cooking process. Leave them in there until ready to use. This prevents the sheets from sticking together or drying out. You can do this while the meat sauce is gently simmering.
- In a large heavy-based saucepan, add oil and bring to high heat.
- Sauté the garlic and onions until light brown, add the mincemeat and braise the meat continuously until the meat has a brown colour.
- Add the packet of tomato and basil sauce and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from the stove, add the flour and whisk for about 30 seconds or until well blended.
- Place the pot back onto the heat, reduce the heat to low and slowly whisk in 1 cup of the milk until well combined.
- Once well blended, add the remaining milk, mixing well after each addition, until all the milk is used and the sauce is free from lumps. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk until it turns into a creamy consistency.
- Increase the heat to medium and continue cooking the sauce while stirring occasionally until it thickens (about 6 – 7 minutes) and coats the back of your wooden spoon.
- Add the fresh origanum.
- Add the cheese and remove it from the heat.
- Season with salt and pepper and mix until the cheese is melted through. (leave a little cheese to add on top of the lasagne).
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Layer the lasagna in a prepared oven dish that is sprayed with Cook & Spray.
- Start with the pasta sheets, then mince, and then the béchamel sauce. Add fresh origanum leaves in between the layers.
- Make sure the last layers are pasta, meat, béchamel sauce, and then mozzarella cheese. This will result in a crunchy cheesy top layer with juicy meat sauce underneath.
- Sprinkle with cayenne pepper.
- Bake in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes.