Cook1 hr 10 min
There’s no doubt that my pictures are still horrible. If someone wants to offer me a free photography crash course I will delightfully accept, or perhaps we can trade? Let’s say a dish of lasagne and some cookies? Please? But anyways, my goal here is to not make Pinterest perfect pictures, but ones that actually are realistic to make and taste fine. At least, thats what I believe.
As most know, Lasagne is made from layers of ragù alla bolognese (commonly known as bolognese), béchamel (white sauce ; made from roux and milk, and an oignon pique), pasta layers and topped with cheese.
Oignon pique is french for pricked onion – a bay leaf tacked with cloves to a peeled onion.
Lasagne was introduced to me by my mother. She took me to a place called Dave’s Deli when I was around 9 years old, she had the lasagne while I had something else…I asked her what lasagne is and I was stupidly put off by it. What was I thinking!! So, being a pesky youngest child…I got to eat nearly half of her lasagne because it was just so freaking good! Don’t know if they have kept their standards, but that left a good imprint in my life.
Though Lasagne was not a famous pasta dish back then in Malaysia, a close family friend used to make it for birthday parties. I was very excited when she started bringing it to birthday parties and after party No.3, I finally asked her how she made it. She told me to just follow the instructions on the box. That simple! Sadly, she has passed on and I never got to have her lasagne again. So dear Aunty Lorna, I hope you are watching down from heaven and hope I’m doing well with my lasagne!
During my final diploma semester in college, we had this module where the students had to take over the college cafeteria (or food court). My friend Ronnie and I were assigned to the hot kitchen and prepared lasagne in mass. It was quite a hit and we got some good compliments from the lecturers and students. Even a well known Malaysian celebrity chef’s sister bought our lasagne! I remember she once bought 6 pieces of it to take home for her family.
Now, I have this chance to share my lasagne with every one. I even managed to convince my husband, who WAS not big on lasagne…to love it. This is one of the dishes where he does not mind having for the next 2 meals. Though I managed to convince my husband, I don’t think I could ever convince my siblings and parents to have my lasagne. I made it once for them 6 years ago and it was a huge flop! Guess they must be thanking their lucky stars to have survived that huge flop. 😉
Note: For the béchamel recipe, I use the metric weighing system as I get accurate measurements.
So here it is.
- 9-12 Lasagne Sheets, fresh or dried
- 1½ cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 500 grams Minced Beef
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 medium sized Onion, chopped
- 4 pieces Bay Leaf
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- ¼ cup Red Wine
- 1 can (400g) Crushed Tomatoes
- ¼ cup Tomato Paste
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon (add more if sauce is very sour) Brown Sugar
- 3-4 Carrots, grated (optional)
- To Taste Salt
- To Taste Black Pepper, crushed
- 50 grams All Purpose Flour
- 50 grams Butter
- 600 ml (2½ cups) Milk
- A pinch Nutmeg
- Half Onion
- 2 pieces Cloves
- 1 piece Bay Leaf
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- To Taste Salt
- Heat up a pan with olive oil. Brown minced beef.
- Add onions, garlic and bay leaf. Stir until the onions soften.
- Deglaze pan with wine.
- Mix in canned tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, and Worcestershire sauce. Add carrots if using.
- Cook until slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Add in brown sugar. You can add more if the sauce if too sour.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Set aside.
- Pierce the halved onion with cloves and bay leaf (oignon pique).
- Lightly toast flour in a medium sized pot. Do not brown the flour.
- Once it starts smelling like toasted nuts, add butter. Stir well. (This is now called roux)
- Cook roux till it smells like again, toasted nuts.
- Whisk milk 300ml at a time into the roux, till combined.
- Continue mixing in the rest of the milk, bring to the boil.
- Add parmesan cheese and oignon pique.
- Season with nutmeg and salt.
- Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Discard oignon pique before using.
- Lasagne assembly (go according to instructions on box, I use Barilla Lasagne sheets)
- Pre-heat oven to 220°C (430°F) and grease a deep lasagne glass dish (13 x 9-inch).
- Spread 1 cup ragù or just enough to cover the dish with a thin layer of sauce.
- Lay lasagne sheets on top – I use 3 sheets per layer.
- Spread 1 cup of béchamel over the sheets.
- Repeat till you reach the third layer*
- Finish off with a generous spread of béchamel.
- Top with mozzarella and oregano.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
- * you can add more layers as you see fit.
- use vegetable lasagne sheets ex. spinach lasagna sheets