This is my favorite beef lasagna recipe and it is amazingly flavorsome and easy. The flavor comes from the sauce and the ease from the fact that I use dried pasta sheets.
This sauce has a rich tomato flavor. It does take an hour to cook, but it is this cooking and reduction that gives it its intense flavor. If pushed for time prepare a batch in advance and then store in the fridge or freezer. Then when ready just reheat, make the white sauce and assemble your lasagna.
I also use Bechamel sauce, which gives the whole dish a creamy texture.
This recipe makes a large amount of beef lasagna, so unless you are cooking for a crowd you will have plenty left over to freeze for another day.
Both the meat sauce and cooked lasagna freeze particularly well, and I always make sure there is some in my freezer.
I have also made it low fat by using low fat milk and low fat cheese in the white sauce and on top of the lasagna.
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Serves 6 -8
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 lb / 500 g beef mince
1 lb / 500 g pork mince
28 oz / 800 g can crushed tomatoes
24 oz / 700 g jar tomato passata
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
13 oz / 375 g dried lasagna sheets
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup grated parmesan
2 oz / 50 g butter
1/3 cup flour
3 ½ cups milk
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
Passata is basically just uncooked, crushed and sieved tomatoes. You can substitute tomato puree or tomato sauce or strained canned tomatoes.
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, over medium heat for 5 minutes or until soft.
Increase the heat, add the pork and veal mince and cook, stirring, until well browned. Break up any lumps of meat with a wooden spoon.
Add tomatoes, passata, sugar and tomato paste to the meat.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Then just let the sauce simmer away merrily for about half an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking to your pot.
Remove the lid and cook for a further 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced down and thickened slightly.
To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat until foaming, then add the flour.
Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the milk.
Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring until thickened. When thick, simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. To assemble, spread 1 cup of the meat sauce over the base of a large 14-cup ovenproof dish 13 x 9 x 3 (34 x 23 x 8 cm).
Cover the meat sauce with lasagna sheets.
Spread one quarter of the white sauce over the lasagna sheets. If the béchamel sauce has cooled and become too thick, warm it gently to make spreading easier.
Then spread over one third of the remaining meat sauce.
Repeat layering twice more with same quantities of lasagna sheets, white sauce and meat sauce. Continue layering until you’ve used all the sheets, meat sauce and cheese sauce.
Finally, place a layer of lasagna sheets over meat sauce. Spread over the remaining white sauce and sprinkle with combined mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Note: It is important when using dried lasagna sheets to completely cover them with the white sauce. Otherwise they won’t soften during the cooking process and will be dry and hard.
Cover with foil and cook in a moderate oven for 45 minutes or until pasta is tender when pierced with a fork. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving. This part is important as it allows the lasagna to firm up and makes cutting easier.
Serve with salad and crusty bread.
How to make the perfect lasagna –
Step by step photo tutorial - how to make Bechamel or White Sauce
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