LASAGNA. First of all the terminology. In Italian a “lasagna” is one sheet of rectangular pasta used in the famous baked pasta recipe. The correct name of the dish refers to the plural “lasagne” indicating the use of several sheets of pasta layered with delicious condiments and sauce.
This is one of those dishes that evokes dreamy eyes and remembrance of happy family Sundays. Of moments in life when everything is so good and so simple.
One the other hand this must be one of the most mistreated recipes in the kingdom of ugly culinary shortcuts. This is because making real lasagne involves work. If you are not prepared to devote some time and effort to it, please eat spaghetti!
Our cooking class guests are often surprised at how light is a good homemade lasagna. For best results it is essential to precook the pasta sheets, to use fresh mozzarella – not ricotta – and modest amounts of condiments on each layer. My friend Sandra explains it better than I do and has several pictures.
- 1/2 kg (1 pound) fresh lasagna sheets
- 60 gr (2 ounces) Parmesan cheese grated
- 200 gr (7 ounces) good quality ham torn in small pieces
- 400 gr (14 ounces) fresh mozzarella cubed
- 200 ml/ ¾ cup Béchamel sauce (white sauce)
- 4 to 6 cups ragu‘ sauce
Precook the lasagna sheets in boiling hot salted water for 1 minute if fresh, 3 min if dry. Drain and place individual sheets on the tabletop to cool.
Build up the lasagne layers starting with a ladleful of sauce on the bottom of an ovenproof pan. Alternate pasta sheets, mozzarella, ham, Béchamel, ragu’, Parmesan. Drizzle approx. 3 tablespoon of the red sauce and 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of the white sauce on each layer. You need just a sprinkle of cheese and ham. Spread the top layer evenly with the ragu’, add 1-2 tablespoon of Béchamel and finally sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoon Parmesan.
Lasagne can be made in advance and frozen. Make sure to defrost completely before cooking as otherwise they will become soggy.
Cook in moderate oven at 200 degrees C (400 F) for 1/2 hour. Serves 6.
PS. in the unlikely case you ave leftovers, you can freeze them but make sure to heat it in the oven or microwave for the shortest possible time otherwise the lasagna will overcook.