Best Lasagne Ever ;)
Over the last couple of years, everywhere I travelled and stayed I kind of took over the kitchen… It didn’t really matter if it was a communal hostel kitchen in the rainforest of Costa Rica or the kitchen I shared with housemates while studying and working abroad. I would make all kinds of dishes most people like. And the one that found most approval was this lasagne.
I love this recipe because it true in flavour, simple to make even if it is a bit of a process to get to the result but every step is worth it!!!! And it is so easy to adapt to your taste. If you are a vegetarian, just make the tomato sauce without beef or make another sauce, like an “arrabiata”. If you prefer béchamel sauce over creme fraiche, make it instead. You don’t like zucchini or squash, use something else. Your Kids don’t like veggies, don’t tell them they’re in it, they won’t notice (I tried that before and it worked).
What else I really love about this lasagne, is the fact that you can please a huge crowd with it. Just double the recipe and 15 people will be happy. Over the last couple of month I cooked it for crowds of 10 to 15 people and never had leftovers. Also preparing it in advance is not a problem at all. When I cook for more people I finish assembling the lasagne a day before serving and just put it in the oven after everyone arrived. 20-30 minutes later a beautiful hot lasagne will be served. The reason it takes not as long as if you put it straight into the oven after assembling, is the fact that the lasagne sheets had already time to soften.
- ca. 400g Lasagne sheets
- 400g mozzarella
for the Bolognese sauce:
- 800g tinned tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 600g minced beef, lean
- 6 slices smoked bacon
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 red onions, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Oregano, dried
- 1 handful finely chopped herbs (my favorite is just different types of thyme and rosemary)
- salt & pepper
- 250 ml red wine
- 2 bay leaves
For the veggies:
- in summer I love to use eggplant or zucchini (take 2 and slice them)
- this time I used: 1 small butternut squash, sliced (roasted with coriander seeds, fennel seeds, crushed chillies & pepper)
- 600g creme fraiche
- 2 hands full of grated parmesan cheese
- a pinch of nutmeg
- a pinch of ground black pepper
1. Fry the smoked bacon with the cinnamon in a large pot over medium heat, until golden.
If you don’t want to use bacon, fry the onions in a teaspoon of smoked paprika powder. Good assorted supermarkets should have it, ask your local deli if they have it or try the Internet.
2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, herbs, tomato paste and if necessary a little bit of olive oil. Fry for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the beef and mix until everything is combined. Fry until the beef changed colour but is still rare inside.
4. Add the red wine, the tinned tomatoes and the bay leaves and bring to the boil.
5. Now patients! Let it simmer for 1 to 1,5 hours over low heat. Stir occasionally.
6. In the meantime, take your squash, slice it and coat with a little bit of olive oil and your spice mix.
7. Place on a baking tray and roast at 180°C for 30-45 minutes.
8. Once the squash is in the oven, put your creme fraiche in a bowl and combine with the parmesan, black pepper and nutmeg.
9. Just before the Bolognese sauce is ready, taste and season it with salt, pepper and some more oregano if necessary.
10. Once everything is ready to assemble, take an oven-proof dish. Put a little bit of the Bolognese sauce in the bottom and one layer of lasagna sheets on top. Now add a layer of the Bolognese sauce, a layer of the white sauce and the roasted squash. Cover with lasagne sheets and repeat the process. Finish with a layer of lasagne sheets and cover with white sauce. Tear apart your mozzarella and place on top.
11. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
12. if you want something fresh with your lasagne, make a little side salad while the lasagne is in the oven.
Enjoy and make sure to let me know how it turned out!