Did you know lasagne (the dish) is like the grammar police of Italian cuisine? Each plate of pasta is called "lasagna." Stack 'em up and bam, you've got lasagne. It’s like pancake vs. pancakes. But who says “I fancy a pancake”? Well, technically, you could say "a pancake," but... I digress. Let’s just dive in, shall we?
Prepare the Pasta Dough:
- 400 grams of durum flour
- 1 egg per 100 grams of flour (four for this maths challenge)
Combine using a stand mixer or your trusty hands. No need to knead (ha!) like you’re training for a dough-wrestling championship. Just ensure it's combined, pop it into a baggie, and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. It’s like magic—osmosis will do its thing, and voila, pliable dough!
Next Up, Filling:
- 2 medium onions
- 2 garlic stems (or 4 garlic cloves, but stems are like the fancy hats of the garlic world – plus, they taste great! Find them at your nearest Asian store)
- 1/2 dl of olive oil (maybe a smidgen more for luck)
- 1/2 dl of lard (trust me, your tastebuds will thank you)
- 2 star anise (no, not for wishing upon)
- 1 tblsp of garlic powder (because why not?)
- 1 tblsp of oregano
- 1 tblsp of basil
- 1000 g of canned crushed tomatoes (that’s a lot of crushing!)
- 250 ml carrot juice (squeeze a carrot or just buy it)
- Pinch of salt
Heat up a large skillet, introduce the oil and lard, then let the onions, garlic stems, and star anise have a 20-minute sauna session on medium heat. In another saucepan, add some olive oil and fry the garlic powder, oregano, and basil like they owe you money. Toss in the tomato paste, give it a good stir, then drown it all in crushed tomatoes. Boil until you’ve got a sauce thick enough to write home about. Don't forget the pinch of salt!
Let’s circle back to the dough, shall we?
Lasagna Plate Time:
- Divide your dough into 6 equal portions and roll them so thin that, well, you can see things you might or might not want to when held up to a light.
Fit them snugly into your oven pan like a cozy pasta blanket.
- A generous spoon of lard
- 1000 grams of minced beef (because why skimp?)
- 2 Polish kielbasas (dried and smoked sausages, add a dash of international flair)
- Pinch of salt
Heat lard until it's screaming hot and sear the minced meat. Pro-tip: High heat and a roomy pan, or else you’ll end up boiling the beef—and no one wants that. Dice the sausages, mix them with the beef, and then combine with your onion medley from earlier. And a pinch of salt, you want to salt every part of the dish, not just parts of it. Some call it "layering your salt", but I don't know. Oh, and toss the star anise; its work here is done.
Now, the Bechamel Sauce:
- 100 grams of butter
- 1 dl of flour
- 750 grams of full-fat milk (because life's too short)
- Two teaspoons of black pepper
- A hefty pinch of salt
Melt butter, mix in the flour, add some of the milk and mix it into a paste to prevent lumps, then add the rest of the milk, stir while heating – and bam! Thick, creamy sauce. Salt and pepper then set aside.
Constructing your Masterpiece:
- 250 grams of grated Parmiggiano cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano if you're feeling extra fancy)
- 4 balls of Mozzarella (mine is made from buffalo milk but you do you)
Start with bechamel on the bottom, followed by a lasagna sheet, then some meat mix, a dollop of tomato sauce, a sprinkle of mozzarella, and repeat until you've got a tower of delight. Crown it with bechamel, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and the grated cheese. Drizzle some olive oil, because why not?
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees, bake for 15 minutes. Crank it up to 250 and give it another 10 minutes for that golden suntan.
Rest for 20 minutes, if you can resist. Dive in. Marvel. Enjoy. Maybe share? Or not. We won’t judge. Cheers to the best lasagne you'll ever make!