Meaty, saucy, cheesy, filling and over the top delicious is what this lasagna recipe is all about.
I grew up eating lasagna filled with meat sauce, ricotta and grated mozzarella. When I moved to Singapore my friends used to make lasagna with béchamel sauce and I fell in love with it. Over the years, I have combined the two recipes and I think my lasagna recipe is pretty amazing!
The time and effort involved in making lasagna is so worth it. It's an ideal make ahead dish that can feed a crowd and it freezes well. Everyone prizes their own lasagna for different reasons, so try my recipe or tweak it and make it your own!
For the Sauce
1kg/2lbs ground beef
1 large onion, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
28 ounce can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
For the Béchamel Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups full fat milk, warmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red chili flakes (optional)
For the Ricotta Filling
16 ounce box ricotta cheese
1 large egg
A handful of fresh parsley chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
For the Assembly
16 slices mozzarella cheese (for all the layers and the top)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (for all the layers and the top)
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
1 cup water
A handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
In a large pot, heat olive oil and sauté onions and garlic until soft.
Add ground beef and cook on high heat for 10 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, salt, black pepper and sugar (optional) and simmer for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
In a medium pot, melt butter, add flour and cook on low heat for a few minutes being careful it doesn't burn.
Slowly add milk a little at a time. Add, stir until combined and add some more. It will be grainy, lumpy and gluey before it becomes smooth and creamy, so just be patient.
Add salt and ground red chili flakes (optional) and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, egg, parsley and oregano (optional) and set aside.
In a baking dish, evenly spread a cup of sauce. Add no-boil noodles in a single layer. You may need to break some in half to cover the baking dish.
Evenly spread sauce, more noodles, ricotta mixture, mozzarella cheese slices, parmesan cheese and more sauce.
Repeat layer and end with a layer of noodles.
Add a thick layer of béchamel sauce, mozzarella slices and parmesan cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes or until top is bubbly and brown.
Tips and Bits
You can add dried oregano, Italian seasoning and fennel seeds to the sauce if you like.
I prefer cheese slices but you can use grated cheese.
Tomato sauce and béchamel sauce can be made a few days before you put lasagna together.
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