How to Make Killer Lasagna for Eight

cooking_iconHere’s a recipe for homemade lasagna that feeds eight hungry people (or less with great leftovers).  We’ll be using mostly ingredients you can find at a local grocery store and it will cost you about 40‎€ (in Dublin, Ireland) or about 5€ per person and will take around three hours.  We’ll be using minced pork and beef here, but traditionally you should also use veal if you like.  Let’s get started.

Ingredients

  • 800g of high quality minced beef, pork and veal (400/200/200 or mixed as you like)
  • Carrots, onions, celery
  • 160g of fresh parmigiano (parmesan) cheese, grated
  • Fresh Mozzarella (Buffalo if you can get it)
  • 500ml of Bechamel sauce
  • 500g of Lasagne All’Uovo Pasta
  • 2 x 690g bottles of organic tomato puree
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 2-fingers of whole milk
  • 1/4th stick of unsalted butter
  • Salt, pepper, chili flakes, sugar
  • Red cooking wine (or a good Sangiovese)

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

Create your Vegetable Base
Start heating up a large pot with a dash of oil.  Dice up your carrots, onions and celery into fine pieces and place inside.  Add a dash of salt and pepper, chili flakes like below.  You’ll stir this on high rigorously until brown and foggy or about 5minutes.

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigianaHomemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

Create Ragu Meat Base
With your vegetable base nice and golden it’s time to add your meat.  Add 800g of meat base and stir well.  Add a few healthy dashes of red wine here, we always keep a Sangiovese or Nebbiolo wine around for this like a Barboresco because it’s great to drink with the meal but any decent red cooking wine will work.  Mix on high, churn and chop until the meat is light brown.

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigianaHomemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

Create Ragu Sauce (total time: 2.5hours)
With your meat toasty looking light brown it’s time to add your sauce.  Add your 2 x 690g bottles of tomato puree to the mix and an equal amount of water.  Cook on low heat and stir until it’s mixed.

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

Keep stirring!
You’ll want to add several scrunches of cracked black pepper, and a mini spoon of sugar to combat the acidity of the tomato after it’s fully stirred well.    Taste and stir, add a pinch of salt as needed.  Continue to stir.  Let this simmer on medium to low heat.  It’s helpful to have a mesh splash guard for covering during this period so it doesn’t Vesuvius all over your stove top.

Watch this closely, you’ll want to remove from heat if it bubbles up too high so you’ll want to check on it every 5 to 10minutes. Set a timer for 40minutes.

Keep it up Citizen..
At around the 40minute mark add 2 fingers of whole milk and 1/4th a stick of unsalted butter.  Continue to stir heavily until butter is melted.  You should see things get much thicker in viscosity.  Let it simmer, stirring occasionally for at least 1.5 hours more.  Towards the end of this timeframe add fresh basil leaves.

Prep the Pasta
Next you’ll lay your scene in a pan suitable for Lasagna.  This will be a repeatable process of brick-layer cooking monotony but first, lay down a thin layer of ragu sauce to start followed by bechamel sauce and parmesan.

Afterwards, follow the below order to start building your delicious empire:

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigianaHomemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

  • First – add layer of your lasagna pasta
  • Second – lay down thin layer of ragu meat sauce base
  • Third – drizzle a thin layer of bechamel sauce
  • Fourth – spread parmigiano cheese across the top
  • Fifth – disperse mozarella chunks.

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigianaHomemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

You’ll rinse and repeat this process many times until you reach the top of your pan or run out of pasta.

Bake your Creation
When you’ve reached near the top of the cooking pan, add basil leaves on top and place into the oven.

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

Bake at 180C (356F) for 25minutes.  It will start to smell really awesome.

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

It should be golden brown when it’s ready.  Let it cool for 15-20minutes before serving.
You can get an idea for the serving size below – quite large.   Even if you don’t have eight hungry guests this makes for some really great leftovers.  The below serving once cooled will have the layers more evident but it was served right away to the masses.

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

Optional Parmigiana Cupcakes
Besides pan-fried slices of eggplant, we used mostly the same ingredients for constructing our lasagna as we would for parmigiana.  I’ll not cover this here but parmigiana cupcakes go well as a starter before the lasagna.

Homemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigianaHomemade lasagna and experimental cupcake parmigiana

Lasagna Cooking Style
The traditional Neapolitan way of cooking lasagna is different, substituting a mix of ricotta cheese, milk, pepper and salt for bechamel sauce and the addition of small meatballs so go this route if you want something more traditional of Campania or Napoli where this dish originated.  I prefer the Bolognese style here with bechamel, however.

About Will Foster

hobo devop/sysadmin, all-around nice guy.
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