I was going a business trip and in order for my husband not to starve the one night I am away or find himself in the McDonalds drive through, I thought I would make him my hearty lasagne for dinner. I have said that my husband is a big pasta eater, especially when it’s with my Bolognese sauce. The recipe is so simple to make and the more you let it sit, the tastier it gets, so this dish is perfect for making the night before.
I mean who does not like creamy mozzarella with pasta and beef? If my husband was not being spoiled enough I decided to make the lasagne with not any standard mozzarella but buffalo mozzarella. Mozzarella as most of you know has a very subtle flavour and gives a creaminess to pizza and pasta dishes when being used, however I personally think it can be quite bland. Buffalo mozzarella on the other hand is made with buffalos milk instead of cows milk, which gives it a tangier flavour and makes the mozzarella even smoother. I personally think its worth investing in a higher quality mozzarella when it becomes part of the focus of the dish.
Lasagne is so versatile, you can make it either veggie based, or meat based. There are lasagnes that you can make that are big lighter in the summer where you swap the noodles with zucchini or eggplant or you can opt for a heartier lasagne in the colder months with a beef Bolognese, like the one I made. The Bolognese sauce is also perfect for spaghetti. I usually make a bit more than what I would need for the lasagne itself and save it for eating together with spaghetti later that week.
I can go on and on about how lasagne is a classic in our household, and I think it many other households as well, but enough chit chat, and let me get to the recipe.
500g ground beef
3 sticks celery, dice
1 red onion, diced
3 small/medium sized carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
800g canned chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper
In a large pot heat the olive oil. Add celery, onion, garlic, carrots and salt and pepper and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion and garlic is golden brown. Add the minced beef and tomato paste and brown. This should take about 5 minutes. Add your canned tomatoes and stir. Fill the empty tomato cans with water and add to the mixture. Now you should have quite a bit of liquid in your pot. Turn down the heat to medium low and allow to simmer until most of the liquid has cooled off and you have the consistency for Bolognese that you are looking for. This usually takes about 1.5 hours on low.
60g all-purpose flour
600ml whole milk
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper
In a small pot add your butter and allow it to melt. Once melted add the flour and stir in. Slowly add the milk and continuously mix. You should have a thick sauce consistency. Once the consistency is reached, add nutmeg and salt and pepper. Remove from heat
Lasagne pasta sheets (pasta that does not require pre-cooking)
3 buffalo mozzarella (or the mozzarella you like)
In a baking form start with the Bolognese sauce, followed by 2-3 big spoonfulls of the bechamel and mix together. Add one layer of lasagne pasta sheets on top. Add a big ladle of the Bolognese, 2-3 spoonfulls of bechamel sauce and the mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of pasta. Continue to do so until you have reached the top of your baking form. Final layer should be the sauce topped off the the cheese.
Preheat your oven to 200 C.
Add your lasagne and bake for about 30 minutes, until your mozzarella is melted and golden brown.