Skip the ready made sauces and make your own lasagne – get the kids to help, they can chop veggies, help with stirring, and they will enjoy assembling and layering the lasagne. Here’s my super-delicious easy lasagne recipe:
Many people have secret ingredients and tips for their lasagna recipe but my top tip is to make your own sauces as they will be more delicious than any store-bought. And if you feel that is a lot of work, it really isn’t, just a bit of prep and stirring.
Having said that, it is a good dish to make in advance, but that’s the beauty of it you can have it ready for the next day or freeze it for future eating. I freeze half of it in portions in parchment paper (much easier to defrost than foil) for dinner on a future busy night.
- 1 onion
- A clove of garlic
- 500g / 8 oz minced beef or 250g/4oz minced beef + 250g/4oz minced pork
- Optional extra veggies chopped finely, e.g. courgette, mushroom, peppers.
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- Tomato puree
- Optional 1 tsp dried mixed herbs or dried oregano
- 50g/2 oz butter
- 2 tblsp flour
- 1 pint/500ml milk
- 100g/4 oz cheddar
- lasagne sheets
First make your ragu or tomato sauce. I sometimes do half beef, half pork mince
- Fry the chopped onion with the garlic in some olive oil gently until softened.
- Add your minced meat and stir the mince until it is all browned.
- If you are sneaking in extra veg then add them now.
- Then add the tin of chopped tomatoes then fill the empty tin half full and swill around and add, so you can rinse out all that tomato goodness. Add a squirt of tomato puree and if you like you can add your dried mixed herbs.
- Bring to the boil then simmer the sauce for at least one hour.
Meanwhile make your white sauce.
- Melt butter in a pot.
- Stir in the flour until the flour and butter are mixed.
- Add the milk very gradually, mixing it each time before adding another slug. If you get lumps don’t panic you can whisk these out later.
- Bring white sauce slowly towards the boil and it will start thickening as it comes to near boiling point. When it is nice and thick, switch off the heat and set aside.
To assemble your lasagne
- Start with a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. I use a rectangular pyrex dish or else you can use a roasting tin too.
- Put as many sheets as you need to cover the sauce. If you need to snap a lasagne sheet to make smaller bits to fill gaps then that’s fine. Then put another layer of tomato sauce on top of the layer of lasagne sheets followed by a layer of white sauce.
- Keep going with a layer of lasagne sheets, followed by tomato sauce, followed by white sauce until your dish is full, you want to finish with white sauce on the top.
- I usually manage 3 layers in my dish then I sprinkle the grated cheese all over the top layer.
- If I know the family will eat the lasagne straight away that evening I bake for about 30-40 minutes in a quite hot oven e.g. 200C / 390F and serve with a green salad. Otherwise, if I want it for the next day, say, I bake it for 15-20 minutes then cool, cover top with foil and refrigerate until I’m ready to finish it off with 15-20 more minutes in the same heat oven – just check the lasagne is nice and hot in the middle if doing the part bake method. I find this is better than fully baking and trying to warm it up again in the oven, otherwise the lasagne just dries out too much, plus I’m just not a fan of reheated food in the microwave, it never seems to reheat evenly.
Over to you now. Do you have a favourite lasagne recipe or tip? Share it with us in the comments below.