Homemade Lasagna

Homemade Lasagna

High up in the list of comfort foods, lasagna is a tough one to beat. If you're looking for a recipe that will leave everyone wishing for more, read on.
Tastessence Staff
Every once in a while, when you stop counting the calories and want some real old-fashioned soul food, lasagna is exactly what comes to the rescue. Lasagna is one of the many Italian recipes that the world has adopted, and its popularity just keeps increasing. Though it may take a little work, it sure is worth it when you take a piping hot lasagna dish out of the oven. A meal in itself, lasagna needs little accompaniment, though you could serve it with something like a radicchio salad, and maybe some garlic bread. Whether you're an experienced hand, or a first-timer looking for a step-by-step guide to teach you how to make homemade lasagna, this is one of those recipes which will keep you coming back for more. Even the leftover sauce is wonderful with spaghetti; you could also try it on garlic bread for a quick fix snack. However, you need to know that the calories in lasagna are a formidable 430 calories per serving with 20.2 g of fat.

Homemade Lasagna Recipe

This recipe can also be made in advance and refrigerated without baking. Once assembled, the flavors meld even better, so this is a great make ahead option.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 2½ hours


Ingredients
  • Olive oil, 2 tbsp
  • Lean ground beef, 350 g
  • Sweet Italian sausage, 450 g
  • Onion, 1 large, finely chopped
  • Garlic, 3 cloves crushed
  • Crushed tomatoes, 1 (400 g) can
  • Fresh tomatoes, 4, roughly diced
  • Tomato sauce, 2 cans (300 g total)
  • Tomato paste, 2 cans (300 g total)
  • ½ cup water
  • Sugar, 2 tbsp
  • Fresh basil leaves, 2 tbsp
  • Italian seasoning, 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, 1 tsp
  • Fresh parsley, 4 tbsp, chopped
  • Lasagna sheets, 12
  • Ricotta cheese, 450 g
  • Egg, 1 large
  • Nutmeg, ½ tsp
  • Mozzarella cheese, 350 g, sliced
  • Parmesan cheese, 200 g, grated
Method
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the olive oil, add the onions and sauté till transparent. Add the garlic, ground beef and Italian sausage, and continue cooking till the meat is evenly browned.
  2. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste and sauce, water, sugar, salt, fresh pepper, Italian seasoning, and half the fresh basil and parsley. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 190° C. (375° F, Gas Mark 3)
  4. Fill a bowl with very hot tap water and place the lasagna sheets in this, leave for about 15 minutes and then drain. In another bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with the egg, nutmeg, and the remaining basil and parsley.
  5. To assemble, place half a cup of the meat sauce in a baking dish, place 4 noodles on top of this, then top with the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, to get another two layers, then top with the grated Parmesan. Cover with foil and place in the oven.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes and then remove. Cool slightly and serve.
Noodles Lasagna Recipe

If you're a start-from-scratch cook, try out this recipe for lasagna noodles. While a pasta maker is a big help, you can use a good old rolling pin and some elbow grease to make your lasagna sheets.

Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 to 15 minutes


Ingredients
  • Semolina flour, 4 cups
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • Eggs, 3
  • Dried basil, 1 tsp
  • Oregano, ½ tsp
  • Onion powder, ½ tsp
  • Garlic powder, ½ tsp
  • Milk, 2 tbsp
Method
  1. Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and crack the eggs into this. Add the olive oil.
  2. Stir the eggs and oil with a fork, breaking up the yolks and pulling the flour mixture slowly from the sides of the well, incorporating more flour with each stir.
  3. Once all the flour is mixed with the eggs, turn the mixture out onto a clean dry surface, lightly dusted with flour and begin kneading. You may need to add a little milk or water if the mixture is too dry.
  4. Knead the dough until the surface is shiny and smooth, shape it into two balls, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for about 15 minutes.
  5. Divide each ball into 4 equal parts to get 8 separate pieces of dough.
  6. Start with one ball, keeping the rest covered with the damp cloth, dust the surface with flour and roll out to approximately 1/8th of an inch thick. Roll outwards from the center in all directions, not back and forth. You will find that the dough stretches at the edges, so take care to maintain uniform thickness.
  7. Cut the rolled-out portion into strips of 3 inches by 6 inches in size.
  8. Repeat with the remaining 7 balls of dough.
  9. Fill a large pot with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring it to boil. Slip in the pasta sheets and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until al dente. Drain and use as you would dry sheets.
As with any other recipe, it's always a better option to use fresh ingredients wherever possible. The difference in taste is remarkable. Using fresh tomatoes in the lasagna sauce for instance―more work, but certainly worth the effort. If you're pressed for time, you can even make two batches at a time and bake as and when you need. Homemade lasagna is an all time favorite and with this recipe, you may have just found an 'heirloom' to pass on to the next generation of cooks in your family.