I freakin’ love lasagne. Love. Back when I was getting used to how much work two kids and a house and cooking for a family was, making a lasagne seemed like a daunting task. The sauce and then the noodles and then the assembly and ugh. My trick was to make a lasagne on a day when I had a bit of time, assemble it and then put it in the freezer. That way when it was finally time to eat it (even if it was only a few days later), all that was required was taking it from the freezer and putting it in the oven. Easy peasy!
Anyway, I am much less overwhelmed with life in general now, and a more practiced cook and so lasagne doesn’t intimidate me like it used to. And it’s kind of come about in my home that we have a lasagne during Christmas week. So I made one yesterday!
I usually buy whole wheat noodles and boil them myself as opposed to the oven-ready noodles. Yesterday I just put it together with oven-ready noodles. Although, honestly, they were a little mushy and I’ll probably stick with whole wheat next time. Anyway, I forgot to take pictures along the way, but the sauce I make is super easy.
Gently soften chopped (to your preferred chunkiness) an onion and some mushrooms in a pan with EVOO. Toss in some lean ground beef (I have also used ground turkey, ground pork and no meat at all – all are good options). Fry the meat until there’s no pink left. Then I toss in a chopped green pepper and a couple celery sticks chopped up. But you could add veggie you want. I used to puree carrots and put them in the sauce, but that was before my kids would eat veggies and now they will so I don’t bother. Then I turn up the heat and fry the meat until almost all of the juice is gone and the meat is nice and browned. Then I toss in two cans of chopped tomatos and a can of tomato paste and let simmer. (If you’re so inclined, a healthy glug of nice dry red wine into the sauce while it’s bubbling adds a hugely robust flavour. Plus the heat eliminates the alcohol so it’s still ok for kids and pregnant ladies.)
(If I were using boiled noodles, I would boil them at the same time I was making the sauce.)
Layer noodles and sauce until your dish is full. I put cottage cheese between the sauce and noodles on the second layer. My dish was a tiny bit small for the amount of sauce that I made and it ended up making a mess of the pan and my oven but oh well!
One lasagne will do us two dinners and a lunch (but we aren’t a big family and the girls are tiny eaters). They did eat a full plate of it last night, though.
If you want it to stay nicely layered when you start to cut and place on plates, you’ll need to let it sit for 20 minutes or so before serving. If you’re like me and don’t care, dig in and enjoy right away!