Normally in our house, it’s my husband who likes to cook lasagna and pasta sauces, but every now and then I give it a go: not to show him I can cook it better than him, but just so I don’t forget this kind of cooking.
Back in Brazil I grew up thinking that lasagna was something fancy because my mum never really knew how to make it and because it was so different from what she usually made. Once in a while, my neighbour Lia would make some extra and bring it to me and my brother – we thought it was the most amazing thing in the world. Back then, I thought it was impossible to make but now I know it just needs a little time and patience.
- Lasagna sheets
- Mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- 500g minced meat
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic, crashed
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 long sticks celery, diced
- 1/4 bunch parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp dry oregano*
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp dry basil
- 1/2 tsp dry thyme
- 5 bay leaves
- Black pepper
- 1 cup red wine
- 500g passata sauce, plus a bit more**
*You can use fresh herbs instead of dry herbs if you have them.
**If you can’t find passata, you can add fresh tomatoes, tomato paste and water.
- Preheat the over at 190C
- Start the bolognese sauce by heating the olive oil in the pan on medium heat and add the meat. Cook it until it goes brown. Then add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion cabbage is soft and almost translucent.
- Add the carrots and all the herbs, salt and black pepper, and cook until the meat mixture is a bit dry, add the red wine and let it reduce to half.
- Add the pasta sauce and let it cook for about 5-10 min.
- While it cooks, you can start making the bechamel sauce.
- 100g butter
- 100g flour
- About 600ml milk
- White pepper
- Melt the butter then add the flour all at once. With the help of a whisk or spatula, cook for about 3-5 min, adding the milk little by little until it becomes a kind of white smooth cream.
- Season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg.
Making the layers
- In a baking tray add a small amount of passata sauce.
- Add the lasagna sheets and add a small amount of bolognese sauce. Cover with another layer of lasagna sheets and add the bechamel sauce.
- Repeat the same sequence until you reach the top layer – the lasagna sheet should be covered with bechamel sauce, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
- Cover it with aluminium foil and let it cook for about 30 minutes or until you insert a toothpick or a knife and the pasta is cooked. Then take the aluminium foil out and let the cheese become a golden colour, it should be about 10-20 mins.
- Once ready, let it rest for about 10 minutes and serve.