One of my husband’s favorite dishes is my homemade lasagna and if you know Mike then its easy to guess why he likes it so much, there are pretty much no vegetables in this lasagna, that makes for a home run with Mike. If you cook for a non veggie-phobic crowd, I would suggest the use of onion, carrots and fresh tomatos to be included into the meat sauce, just cut them up and throw them into the sauce after the meat and onions are browned and let the sauce and veggies cook for approx. 30 minutes. I don’t think there really is a bad lasagna recipe out there and its pretty fool proof to cook. Here is my version:
- 1-2 tablespoons of Olive oil to coat the bottom of your pot
- 1,5 pound ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion, diced, about 3/4 cup (I leave them out but if you like onions you should for sure use them)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small can of tomato sauce
- 1/2 a can of tomato paste or a good squirt if you use tomato paste in the tube (my preference)
- 1 small can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 a cup of flour
- 1/2 a stick of butter
- 4 cups of milk
- Salt, pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 1 package of Mozzarella cheese cut in slices – I use an egg slicer
- 1/2 – 1 cup of fresh parmesan cheese, I like the one that comes in big flakes
Meat Sauce preparation:
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium high heat.
- Add the lean ground beef and cook it in the skillet until lightly browned and cooked through.
- Add the garlic (I press it through a garlic press) and brown it, stirring the meat frequently so that the garlic doesn’t burn, approx. 1 minute.
- Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and water. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic salt, paprika and adjust amounts to taste.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and lower the heat to low to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 15-30 minutes and remove from the heat.
Béchamel Sauce Preparation:
- While the meat sauce is cooking prepare the white béchamel sauce.
- In a 2-quart pot, melt 4-5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When butter has completely melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually add in the cold milk whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming. Go easy on the milk in the beginning and let the sauce cook a little bit after 3 cups of the milk is incorporated, when the sauce thickens and you like it thinner add more milk.
- Continue to simmer and whisk over medium heat until the sauce is thick, smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of wooden spoon.
- Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, garlic salt (can’t live without it anymore) and nutmeg. Stir until well combined and check for seasoning.
- Set aside and allow to cool completely.
- Ladle 1/3 of the bechamel sauce in the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish and top with 1/3 of the meat sauce. Arrange the pasta sheets side by side onto the sauce(s), covering the bottom of the baking dish.
- Then repeat step 1 by ladling 1/3 of the béchamel and 1/3rd of the meat sauce onto to the pasta and now also add 1/3 of the mozzarella slices on to the spread. Cover with 3 more lasagna sheets.
- Repeat step 2 – béchamel sauce – meat sauce – mozzarella – pasta sheets
- Arrange the final layer by topping the pasta with the remaining béchamel and meat sauce and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake the dish on the middle rack at 350 degrees for 1 hour. If your dish is super full with sauce, put a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven under the dish in case that the sauce bubbles over the baking dish.