This recipe will serve about 6 people if you have a bit of salad and garlic bread on the side as well. They’ll probably have room for a bit of dessert as well. Or this will serve 4 really hungry people. I love lasagne, so I serve 4 with this (sometimes theres a bit left over for a serve of lunch and hopefully hubby forgets to bring it to work so I can eat it).
Handmade Lasagne Sheets
Makes 2 baking tray sized lasagne sheets
This recipe can also be used to make other pastas. Even though I rushed out and bought a pasta maker, its not really necessary. You can use a good, old-fashioned rolling pin and cut the pasta to the shape and size you desire. If you have enough time, its best to make the lasange sheets at the same time you make everything else. If you really need to make them the day before, you can store them in the fridge. I suggest you put layers of baking paper between the sheets and flour the sheets to prevent sticking. Make sure you cover with clingwrap to prevent drying out. But of course, freshest is bestest.
1 cups semolina flour
1 cups plain flour
1 eggs well-beaten
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive-oil (sometimes I substitute this for garlic oil)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water (keep extra water aside if needed, though hopefully a tap is easily accessible)
Steps to delicious lasagne sheets:
1. Sift the two flours together into a large bowl.
2. Mix beaten egggs with olive oil, salt and one cup of cold water.
3. Make a well in the flour and pour in egg mixture.
4. Mix until it starts to come together (form lumps of dough).
Then start to use your hands to roll it into a big ball and knead it (keep pushing it down and rolling it together again) until the dough becomes more smooth. About 5 minutes of kneading should make it a uniform consistency.
5. Roll the dough into a loaf shape, dust underneath and over the whole “loaf” with flour. Cover with a dry cloth and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.
6. Take half the dough and use either a pasta maker or a rolling pin to roll your dough into a thin sheet. This amount of dough should make about 2 large sheets for a decent sized baking tray/dish.
60g plain flour
1. Heat milk to scalding point and set aside.
2. Melt butter in another saucepan and stir in flour.
3. Cook, stirring, until you have a smooth golden pasted (known as a roux).
4. Gradually work in hot milk and stir until sauce thickens and is very smooth. Continue stirring until sauce boils. You can add more milk if you feel that the sauce is too thick.
5. Cook for a further 10 minutes with pan on a simmer mat over a gentle heat.
6. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Sauce & Filling
500g minced meat (beef)
1/4 of a Japanese Pumpkin (chopped into small pieces, this will help it to cook faster)
250g of mushrooms (roughly chopped or broken into pieces)
1 can of diced tomatoes (I chose one with basil and oregano, you can pick yours to taste, or add fresh herbs yourself)
Some tomato paste or good tomato sauce can be added as well. This time I added about 1/3 of a cup of tomato paste.
Salt & Pepper
You can substitute vegetables of choice. Zuchinni or carrot sound nice.
1. Put a small amount of olive oil in a non-stick pan and heat on high (for extra flavour, use garlic infused olive oil or just add a couple of peeled cloves of garlic while your oil heats up, just remember to remove these before adding to the lasagne unless you want a garlicy surprise).
2. Add chopped pumpkin once oil is hot. After a couple of minutes add the mushrooms.
3. Continue to cook until the pumpkin is cooked through (the colour will change and the pumpkin should be soft enough that when you press down on the pieces with a spoon or spatula it is quite squishy).
4. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Heat a little more oil in a pan.
6. Once the oil is hot, add minced meat (in the photos you’ll see I added more mushrooms at this stage, this was because I realised I just simply needed more mushrooms!)
7. When it is pretty much cooked through (beef has turned brown) pour diced tomatoes over meat, add the cooked pumpkin and mushrooms andmix everything together.
8. Allow this to cook for another 5 or so minutes. Turn off heat.
Assembling the lasagne.
Shaved Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup mozarella (if you want the top layer to be extra cheesey)
1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Put half of the sauce mixture to line the bottom of the baking dish (hopefully you have enough here, if not, just remember for next time you make it to cook more sauce, or get a smaller baking dish hehe).
3. Next layer a sheet of the pasta on top. I didn’t need to do this the first time, but it might be a good idea to prick some holes in the pasta with a fork, as the second time around I experienced some big air bubbles under the pasta while cooking and had to push them down.
4. On top of the sheet of pasta, spread half of the bechamel sauce. If it seems to have become too thick, add some more milk and heat it up again on the stove.
5. Add the remainder of the meat and vegetable sauce as the next layer.
6. Place the second lasagne sheet next.
7. Now you can add the remainder of the bechamel sauce. If you like the top of your lasagne to be extra cheesey, you can heat up the sauce again and add 1/4 cup of mozarella before spreading it on top.
8. Cover the top of the lasagne with pieces of shaved parmesan cheese.
9. Bake in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes (Or until the cheese on top has become golden).
10. Eat it!