Lasagne is a staple at my house that we eat at least once a month. I mostly make it on the weekend or when I know I have an hour to cook because it is not a quick weeknight meal. But is does make great leftovers and they taste even better the next day when the sauce has thickened and is full of flavour. You could also prep the meat sauce a day ahead and then assemble the Lasagne if you have guests – but I usually can’t wait and make it anyways.
We have tried several different Lasagne recipes and I ended up making this from scratch. The base for the meat sauce are the onion, garlic, celery and carrot. There it depends a little on the size of your vegetables, you should roughly have the same amount of onion, celery and carrot to get a balanced taste, so if your carrots are really large just use less, if your onions are on the small side you are better off with 2.
For the other vegetables I usually use what I have on hand, I like Zucchini because it does not overpower the meat and can be easily hidden. Feel free to swap the Zucchini and mushrooms for eggplant and paprika if you like those better. But you want to have roughly the same amount of vegetables as beef. Since I am a lazy chopper I use the food processor and chop up my veggies until the bowl is full 🙂
For the meat sauce:
- 1 Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 3 stalks of celery
- 4 carrots
- 1 small Zucchini
- 4 – 5 Button Mushrooms
- 1 pound of group beef
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups of tomato sauce (unseasoned)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon beef bouillon
- 1 teaspoon each: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
- salt, pepper, oil/butter for frying
for the Béchamel:
- 2-3 tablespoons of butter
- 2-3 tablespoons of flour
- 2-3 cups of milk
- salt, nutmeg
- freshly grated gouda to taste
- 1 pack of lasagne sheets (500 g)
- If you have a food processor, now would be a good time to take it off the shelf! If you don’t, finely dice the onion, garlic, celery and carrot, set aside.
- Now finely dice your Zucchini and Mushrooms (or whatever additional vegetables you are using).
- Fry the beef in a little oil and add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot mix after about 5 minutes when the meat has slightly browned.
- When the meat has cooked through add the remaining vegetables and lower the heat to medium. Let the vegetables sauté for about 5 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and add the red wine. Let it simmer on medium heat until it does not smell alcoholic any longer – about 5 min – stir occasionally.
- Add the remaining ingredients and spices and let it simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes or until sauce has thickened a little.
- Meanwhile prepare the Béchamel sauce – melt the butter in a small pot, then whisk in the flour spoon by spoon – stop when it starts looking to dry, the mix should still look a little buttery, sort of like cookie dough.
- Turn up the heat and whisk in the first cup of milk, at this point be careful you don’t get any clumps. Stir frequently and bring to a boil. Slowly add the remaining milk until you have a thick, pudding-like béchamel sauce. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Lightly grease an ovensafe dish and start layering the Lasagne: Meat Sauce, Lasagne plates, Béchamel – repeat as many layer as you want – end with Meat Sauce and top with grated gouda.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes on 180C/360F. Poke a steak knife in to see if the pasta has softened.