The Secret To The Perfect Lasagna
If like me you don't enjoy processed food and the monotony that goes with it (too salty, too flavory, too bland, too fatty, too many E300s and such) then you've probably already prepared some home-made lasagna. This autumn/winter comfort food tastes the best if you make it with care and after a few tries I think I got myself the perfect recipe (at least to my taste!).
Getting the flavor right means working on the balance of ingredients, here is what I am using and the proportions:
3/4 pound of ground beef
1 pound of Italian sausages
1 big onion or a few little ones
6 cloves of garlic
1 can (28oz) of crushed tomatoes
1 can of tomato basil sauce
2 small cans of tomato concentrate
500gr Ricotta cheese
2 mozzarella di buffala
Some Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste (+ nutmeg if you like it)
Italian spices + Bruschetta spices
Optional: the vegetables of your choice chopped. Note that this sauce works for a veggie lasagna too, just substitute the meat with veggies but then add fennel (present in the sausage meat) ^^ I like to use mushrooms, carrots and eggplants.
Here is what you'll need to make the sauce base if you don't eat meat. I haven't taken the eggs, the mozza & ricotta out of the fridge yet.
Now let's talk about the recipe itself, it's fairly easy although it does take some time to prepare (it's totally worth it!). You will need a sauce pan large enough to accommodate all the ingredients as well as a baking dish or several for individual portions (great to bring to work!).
First of all, chop the onion and crush the garlic cloves. Put some oil in a pan and cooking the onion and garlic until fragrant.
Add the ground beef and sausage meat and cook it until it gets a nice golden color. Make sure to stir often to get an even coloring and to ensure that you don't have big chunks of meat.
Once the mixture has colored, add the crushed tomato can, the tomato sauce and concentrate paste as well as all the spices (Italian mix, bruschetta mix, some salt & pepper). Cook for about 1h ~ 1h30 and stir occasionally. This will allows for the flavors to blend. Towards the end of the 1h, I usually add some vegetables as I don't want them to be too muchy.
While your sauce finishes to cook, put the lasagna pasta in a container with hot water for 15 minutes so they soften a bit, but not too much since we want them to absorb some of the liquid from the sauce. This way the lasagna holds better together.
In another container, mix the egg and the ricotta cheese together.
Slices the mozzarella and prepare the Parmesan cheese.
Now it's time to assemble the lasagna :) In a baking dish spread some of your tomato sauce in the bottom before adding a lasagna pasta. On top of it spread you ricotta mixture and top it with some slices of mozzarella. Repeat until your dish is full and then sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
Put an aluminium foil on your baking dish.
Pre-heat your oven at 190°C and then cook the lasagna for 15~20 minutes
Remove the foil and leave the lasagna in for an addition 5~10 minutes to make sure the mozzarella and Parmesan have melted and grilled a bit.
Let the lasagna sit and cool down a bit before serving.
This is so far the best recipe I've done and it tastes even better the next day when the ingredients and flavors have had the time to blend some more. It goes perfectly with a glass of red wine and can be served with a salad on the side for those who'd like more veggies.
The sauce recipe is also amazing on its own as a "bolognese" with the pasta of your choice...
Wanna try this recipe? Did already? Drop me a comment below :)