It was always one of my dreams to make my own lasagne so I always looked out for great recipes and inspirations. The usual lasagne that you can get in Germany is usually pretty dry and heavily loaded with meat. Usually made using cream or Béchamel sauce. To me it just doesn’t feel right and so I started searching for lasagne that is juicy and doesn’t feature the previously mentioned ingredients. Think I finally found something awesome but added my own twist, a secret ingredient, to the classic lasagne recipe.
We used the De Cecco Lasagne sheets that did not require any pre cooking which saved us some time and less dishes ;) We really enjoyed this pasta because the lasagne still had some texture (al dents) after baking in the oven for almost an hour!
This lasagne is not for people who are on a diet. It has ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan. Apart from parmesan the other two cheeses are fairly “light” in taste. It has the right proportion of meat, cheese and pasta ratio. The pesto in the meat sauce makes it even creamier without having to add any cream.
It is a great party dish. Well if you do not plan to have a party, I would still advice you to make this portion (for 6 people) because you can definitely keep it for a couple of days in the fridge! I think the ricotta keeps the lasagne soft even after microwaving it the following day.
Let’s have a look at the ingredients first. It looks like a lot of stuff to get but most of it are staples that you might have at home anyways:
- 500g minced beef
- 1 red onion, minced
- 1 can (400g) chopped tomatoes
- dolup of Pesto Genovese
- 2 tbs tomato puree
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 small birds eye chilli
- 1 tbs dried basil
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 cup of water (1/2 can)
- 450g ricotta
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- 6 sheets of lagsana ( but it depends on the pan)
- 1 mozzarella
- 1 cup parmesan
Have you counted yet? There are 19 ingredients that you should get ready to get this lasagna right. The good thing is that the steps are simple and quick.
- Heat a medium size pan and add some high quality olive oil for frying once it is hot.
- Add the red onion, the garlic and the chili to the pan and stir fry it until it begins to soften. If you have the feeling that it might burn reduce the temperature to medium-high heat.
- Break the minced beef into the pan. This will help you frying it and cook it quicker. I would actually advise you to never dump a whole block of minced meat into a hot pan. You will have to work a lot to break it apart.
- Fry the ingredients until the meat is starting to brown.
- Add the tomato puree and the Pesto Genovese and mix everything will. Season with some salt and pepper at this point as well. This is also the right time to add the dried basil to the pan.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and the cup of water to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let it simmer for about 45-60 minutes until the sauce becomes thick.
- While cooking the sauce you should mix the ricotta, the egg and one cup of grated parmesan. Season lightly with some salt and pepper and set aside. You can leave it in the fridge if your sauce is still bubbling away.
- Once the sauce is cooked you can start to assemble the lasagne. Take a deep baking pan and brush the bottom with some olive oil. Lightly cover the bottom of the pan with some of the sauce and place lasagne sheets on top. Make sure that that the pasta is overlapping and that it covers the bottom of pan. Add a layer of the ricotta mixture on the pasta and top it off with a generous amount of the sauce. Top it all of with some pulled mozzarella. Finish everything with a another layer of pasta. Repeat until the baking pan is filled or until you run out of ingredients (we had 3 layers of lasagne sheets).
- Sprinkle a cup of grated parmesan on top so that everything is covered in cheese.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C and once it is heated put the baking pan in the oven. Leave it in for about 30-40 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.
- Take out the pan and leave it for about 10 minutes. If you are too greedy everything will fall apart and you will create a huge mess. Don’t be afraid of the lasagne cooling down too fast. It will still be warm after waiting and you won’t burn your mouth eating it.