I have been craving lasagna since we were in Estonia so this sometimes-sunny-sometimes-thunderstorm-y sunday is the perfect day to make it! I got Rock a pasta roller KitchenAid attachment for his birthday just before we left for our vacation so he is super keen to try it out now. I’ve never made lasagna using homemade pasta before so this is exciting. If you’re not making your own pasta then just get lasagna noodles from the grocery store. Just avoid those ones that you don’t need to cook first and then you need extra water to your sauce; I find that they always turn out a bit wonky.
Everyone has their own way of making lasagna but this is how I like to make lasagna. I know my sister adds in a béchamel sauce so I might try that out sometime but otherwise, this is my go-to. My go-to basically just involves layering homemade tomato meat sauce, pasta, and mozzarella and cheddar. I know cheddar is not very conventional at all but you gotta try it! And none of that ricotta filling; I find it quite unappealing.
So you’re going to need…
either a package of lasagna noodles or make your own fresh pasta (recipe below) / shredded part-skim mozzarella (use as much as you want but be generous! I usually get a 500 gram block and use almost all of it, to Rock’s horror) / shredded old cheddar (roughly 1/2 the amount of the mozzarella) / tomato meat sauce
For the tomato meat sauce: 1 medium yellow onion / 4-5 cloves of garlic / 1 x 796 ml tin of crushed tomatoes (I always think that one tin is not enough but it is. Now I have a stockpile of crushed tomatoes…) / 1 tin of tomato paste / 1 package of lean ground beef (I think that’s usually about 750 grams) 2 bay leaves / a couple pinches of sugar / salt and pepper to taste / a couple squirts of sriracha hot sauce
Dice up the onions and either mince the garlic or put it through a press. In a large pot or saucepan, toss the onions and garlic in with a few good glugs of olive oil and a good sprinkle of salt over medium to medium high heat. Sautee until the onions have softened up and then add the ground beef. Cook until the beef is cooked through then add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, sugar, sriracha and a bit more salt and some pepper. Once it’s bubbling away, turn the heat down to low, partially cover and let it simmer for as long as you can. At least a solid few hours, or even a day, would be preferable but it won’t be the end of the world if it’s just for like 30 minutes. Just give it a stir every now and again and don’t forget (like I often do) to remove the bay leaves when you’re done.
For fresh pasta: 4 large eggs/ 1-2 tsp of water (depends on the humidity of where you are) / 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour / 1/2 tsp salt
Combine all the ingredient and knead until the dough is firm and leathery but also not crumbling or falling apart. Let it rest for 20 minutes and then roll out into thin sheets (we’re rolling to setting 5). If you need to, cut the pasta so that it will fit into your lasagna pan.
Cook the pasta for about 2 minutes in salted boiling water until al dente. If you’re using dried pasta just cook to the directions on the box.
Preheat the oven to 350F. After the pasta and the sauce are ready, you just need to start layering! Start off with a bit of sauce spread out on the bottom of a lasagna pan then put a layer of pasta, then sauce, then cheeses and repeat. I like to have a thicker layer of cheese as the final layer on top. Lightly cover with some tin foil and stick it in the oven for about 40 minutes. About halfway through, remove the foil so that the cheese can brown up a bit.
The second picture looks oddly yellow but you get the idea! Rock is in love with his pasta roller now. He says the lasagna was very tasty and he was surprised with how good his pasta turned out. Now to contentedly zone out into a food coma on the couch.