I find lasagne to be the ultimate comforting meal – especially served the classic Irish way with chips and coleslaw ;-). There are so many variations and almost everyone has their own way to make this delicious dish. I love to give the meat sauce a few hours on the hob to break the mince down and really deepen the flavour for the tastiest possible meal. I also like to make the Béchamel sauce extra cheesy and use up some odds and ends of cheeses from the fridge.
Enough chat, here’s the goods..
What you’ll need:
- large frying pan with a lid
- lasagne dish
- chopping board
- sharp knife
- spoon measures
- medium saucepan
- whisk or wooden spoon
- large spoon
- measuring jug
for the meat sauce
- 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon chopped
- 450g of minced pork
- 450g of minced beef
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 1 red pepper finely diced
- ½ cup of dry red lentils (optional)
- 4 large cloves of garlic finely chopped, or 2 tsps of dried garlic granules
- 1 tsp dried Italian herb mix or oregano
- 3 heaped tbsp tomato puree
- 1 beef stock cube
- pinch of sugar or 1/2 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp of chilli flakes or to taste
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes or 500g of passata with a handful of chopped fresh tomatoes
- salt and pepper
for the cheesy Béchamel sauce
- 3 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 100g butter (or 3 heaped tbsp)
- 450ml whole milk
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 200g grated cheese – any cheese you have in the fridge or a mixture ( I tend to used a mix of cheddar and parmesan)
- salt & pepper
Other ingredients needed
- 250g grated mozzarella
- 1 pack of dried lasagne sheets
- Put a large frying pan on a medium-high heat and drizzle in 1 tbsp of oil, then add then bacon pieces and fry until cooked through.
- Add in the onion and red pepper and cook until softened then add in the garlic.
- Add the minced pork and beef to the pan with the dried herbs, use a wooden spoon or spatula to break any lumps of mince apart as it cooks then add in the lentils if using.
- Add in the honey, tomato puree, chilli flakes, balsamic vinegar and crumble in the stock cube and mix this all through with the mince.
- Add the chopped tomatoes or passata and fresh tomatoes to the pan and use a splash of water to swirl around the tins/carton/bottle and add to the pan to use all the tomato flavour.
- Turn the heat down to low-medium, stir everything through and put the lid on then leave to simmer for 3 or 4 hours (this breaks the mince down and allows the sauce to deepen in flavour and reach the perfect thick consistency).
Cheesy Béchamel sauce (make just before assembling the lasagne)
- Put the flour and butter into a medium saucepan on a medium heat.
- Use a whisk or wooden spoon to combine the flour and butter to a paste and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the milk a little at a time, stirring until it thickens between adding it.
- When the milk is all combined and the sauce is nice and thick, add in the Dijon, nutmeg, cheese and pinch of salt and pepper.
- In the lasagne dish, put a layer of the meat sauce on the bottom, then top with 1 even layer of dried lasagne sheets (uncooked, there is plenty moisture in the sauces to cook the layers).
- Next, put a small helping of the cheesy Béchamel and spread it thinly over the lasagne sheets using the back of the spoon then a very light sprinkle of grated mozzarella.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the meat sauce is gone but save most of the cheesy Béchamel sauce for the top (I usually have 2 or 3 more repititions).
- Mix half of the grated mozzarella that’s left with the cheesy Béchamel left for the topping and spread generously over the top of the lasagne.
- Place the lasagne into a preheated oven at 200°C for 30 minutes, then take it out, there will be a golden brown layer on top, use a spoon to break this thin layer and sprinkle on the last of the grated mozzarella then put it back into the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
Leave to rest for 5 minutes, run a sharp knife around the edges then cut into portions and serve as you like!
I hope you enjoy my recipe for lasagne. Don’t forget to tag me @emmascottagekitchen on Instagram if you make it 😀 and let me know what you think.