Really, you can’t beat the classics.
Classics are always good and most people love them. They never disappoint.
This is the story of the way I make lasagna through photos. Be prepared, there are lots of photos, but I think you guys will find them helpful.
When I make lasagna I always, always, make my own pasta. To me it is easier than boiling a pot of water, draining and messing with dried lasagna sheets.
Of course, I do have a stand mixer that pretty much does all the work for me. If I had to do it by hand I might be singing a different tune. If you are not into the homemade pasta feel free to swap in dried lasagna noodles.
You can definitely make pasta by hand, I even included directions on how to do this. But I am not going to lie, I personally think using a mixer makes life so much easier.
So I took lots of photos to help you guys out. I promise though, it is pretty easy, especially once you get the hang of it. For me now, I don’t even think about, I just do it.
The dough comes together in minutes, then rolling it out is simple.
I use this KitchenAid attachment for my stand mixer and I LOVE it. I used to have one that attached to the counter, but this is so much easier. It stays still and the mixer does all the cranking for you. Yes!
Ok, and now the sauce. the sauce simmers for at least two hours, but if you can, let it simmer all day and then place it in the fridge overnight. This makes for the best sauce. It allows the flavors to settle and get all delicious.
Plus, it makes the whole process of making lasagna a lot less daunting.
The way I like to make my lasagna is to make the sauce, let it simmer all day and then place it in the fridge overnight.
The next day I make the pasta, béchamel and then assemble the lasagna.
And then I place it all back in the fridge. Again.
And then the next day I bake.
I know it seems like a process, but I have found this is the easiest way to do it. However, you can completely skip all the overnight fridge time and make this in one day, but it is still a process. It is lasagna, not chicken and rice.
My family absolutely loves this lasagna. Everyone eats it (yes, I mean the whole family, which if you read regularly, you know this is a big deal!), and the leftovers. Later they wish there were more leftovers.
It is a great thing.
Unlike most lasagna, I use a mixture of spicy ground italian chicken sausage and ground chicken. You can use beef if you like, but I love a little spice.
I think is works with all the cheese!
Oh, and just like in any other traditional lasagna, I use a béchamel sauce. Only mine is not just butter, milk and parmesan, I also add provolone (so good) and a pinch of nutmeg. The béchamel makes the lasagna.
I make this at least two or three times throughout the month of December.
One, it feeds a ton.
Two, everyone loves it.
Three, it is kind of pretty to look at and people seem to be really impressed when you make a real lasagna.
It is pure winter comfort food.
Cozy, cheesy and so good.
FYI, don’t think I am drinking this wine.
Nope, that would be pomegranate juice in those glasses. No wine drinkers in my house, so I subbed pomegranate juice and it worked.
- Pasta (or use 1 pound of cooked dried lasagna noodles)
- 2 1/2 cups Flour
- 4 Eggs
- 4 ounces pancetta, chopped (optional, but adds great flavor)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 3/4 pound ground spicy italian chicken sausage or regular spicy italian sausage (may sub regular ground chicken or beef if you do not like spicy)
- 1/4 pound ground chicken or ground beef
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup milk (I use 2%)
- Béchamel Sauce
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk (I use 2%)
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups provolone cheese, shredded, divided
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for serving
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- chopped parsley, for garnish
Start by making the sauce. In a heavy bottomed pot, cook 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the pancetta over medium heat, stirring, until the pancetta is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring, until the veggies are softened, about 5 minutes. Push the veggies off to the side of the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the center of the pan and crumble in the ground sausage, ground chicken or ground beef. Cook without stirring for 3 minutes and then begin breaking up the meat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, parsley and thyme. Cook another minute or so.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 cups water, 1 cup milk, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2-3 hours. If the sauce seems too watery after 2 hours remove the lid and simmer until thickened. Discard the bay leaf, taste to season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. At this point the sauce can be placed in the fridge overnight or up to 3 days. You may also freeze the sauce.
When you are ready to assemble the lasagna, make the pasta dough. To make the dough using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (my preferred method) add the flour and eggs to the bowl. Knead the dough on medium speed until the dough comes together and forms a ball. If your dough seems too dry add water a teaspoon at a time, being careful not to add too much water. I typically have to add 4-6 teaspoons of water, but live in a very dry climate. The dough should be moist, but not too sticky. If you add too much water just add a teaspoon of flour at a time to balance it out. Divide the dough into four balls and place each ball in a sandwich bag. Set aside.
To make the dough by hand, mound the flour on a work surface; make a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the center and beat with a fork. Gradually mix the eggs into the flour. Using a bench scraper, mix in the last of the flour until the dough comes together. Scrape the surface clean and dust with flour. Knead the dough, dusting with flour, until firm and smooth, about 8 minutes. Shape into a ball.
Quarter the dough and shape into 4 balls. Place each ball in a sandwich bag. Set aside.
Now make the Béchamel Sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk in a steady stream. Add the nutmeg and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking. Remove from the heat, stir in provolone and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
To assemble the lasagna grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. If baking the lasagna right away Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Spoon a little of the red sauce over the bottom of the dish. Grab 1 ball of pasta dough and flatten the dough. Lightly dust the dough with flour, brushing off excess. Set a pasta machine to the widest setting; run the dough through. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, then run it through again, short end first. Run it through 2 more times, dusting with flour if it seems too sticky. Now switch to the 2nd setting and roll all the dough sheets through the machine again. Switch to the 3rd setting and roll the sheets through again. Switch to the 4th setting and roll the sheets through again. Now switch to the 5th setting and roll the sheet through the machine one last time. All machines vary, but I find I like the 5th setting for lasagna sheets. Generally, when you see your hand through the pasta sheet, it's thin enough to cut.
Cut the sheet of dough to fit inside your dish. I can normally get 2 long and wide noodles + enough extra dough on the ends to fully make one layer of pasta cover the bottom of the pan. If this is not the case just form the extra dough into a ball and roll it out again. Fit into the pan where it is needed.
Now spoon about 1/2 of the remaining red sauce over the noodles. Drizzle about 1/3 of the Béchamel on top of that.
Grab another dough ball of pasta and roll it out just as you did above. Layer the pasta over the Béchamel. Now add the remaining red sauce and another 1/3 of the Béchamel. Roll out another ball of dough and layer the pasta. Add the remaining 1 cup of provolone cheese and the mozzarella cheese. Roll out the last ball of dough and layer it over the cheese layer. Pour the remaining Béchamel over the noodles and then sprinkle with a little shredded provolone and mozzarella.
Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the the lasagna. At this point the lasagna can be placed in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen.
Bake, covered for 1 hour and then uncovered for 15 minutes more. Let stand for 15-20 minutes before slicing. If your lasagna was cold bake, covered for 15-30 minutes longer.
Carbs make Monday bearable.
*Don’t forget to enter to win A KitchenAid Stand mixer. The giveaway is going on right now. Enter here!