How To Make Lasagna Restaurant-Style: Level Up Your Cooking
Lasagna has been around for quite sometime, originating in Naples, Italy around the Middle Ages.
There are many possible origins of its name, with the Greek word lagana (flat sheet of dough) being one example. Hence, lasagnas are one of the oldest kinds of pasta dishes from Italy.
What’s best about this dish is that its recipe is designed for large servings. It’s a great party dish or a meal that can comfortably satisfy your large family.
It doesn’t make use of expensive ingredients as well, so you have all the reason to learn how to make lasagna at home!
What You’ll Need
Lasagna isn’t a straightforward dish like other pasta recipes such as the aglio e olio. To cook lasagna, you need to divide your work into three sections first. This is making the bechamel sauce, making the ragu, layering the pasta sheets. And Lasagna pan is an indispensable thing
It can be quite a challenge. However, the results will be worth it considering this can easily feed six people. Here are what you’ll need based on the three sections:
For the bechamel sauce
- Soft unsalted butter (5 tablespoons)
- All-purpose flour (4 tablespoons)
- Milk. (5 cups)
- Grated parmesan (1 cup)
- Salt and pepper (pinch)
- Fresh nutmeg
For the ragu sauce
- Any combination of beef, pork, and sausage
- It’s highly recommended that you use braising cuts such as pork belly (500g) and beef brisket (500g)
- Any pork sausage (200g) with a mild flavor would do. Avoid cured ones like chorizo.
- Three large cans of chopped plum tomatoes
- Tomato puree (1 tablespoon)
- One large onion
- Bay Leaves (3 Pcs)
- A glass of red wine
- Pack of basil leaves
For assembling the lasagna:
- Lasagna sheets
- Grated parmesan
- Mozzarella (optional)
- Chopped boiled eggs (optional)
Step 1: Know the principles of the ragu
Unless you have pre-made ragu, you won’t need to do this step. Making a traditional ragu can take a while because it makes use of a slow-cooking process. This is why some cooks prefer a shortcut by making a bolognese sauce instead.
However, if you want delicious, restaurant quality lasagna, then we suggest you make a ragu sauce. The measurements we provided for making the ragu above will last you for a long time. You can store it in big batches and put it in a fridge.
You can use ragu sauces for all kinds of dishes. They are perfect for any braised meat, pasta dishes, or even as a relish for sandwiches.
Step 2: Make the ragu
Start by chopping the meat that you chose for your ragu. Cut it into chunks so the meat can take a beating once you slow-cook it. Once you’ve cut the pork belly and beef brisket, heat a large casserole with olive oil.
Season the meat generously with salt and pepper, and brown it in the casserole. Once the meat has cooked, add the pork sausage and break it in the pan. The next step is to ready your stewing ingredients.
Stewing the ragu
Dice the onion, break the bay leaves, and chop the basil. Add the onions and bay leaves first to the pan and give it a little stir. Afterward, add a glug of any cheap red wine.
The red wine will help deglaze the pan, incorporating all the flavorful residue that’s stuck in the bottom of the pan.
Finally, empty three cans of chopped tomatoes. Fill each can with water and add it in the ragu. Pouring the water in the can instead of glass gives it additional flavor. Add in the basil leaves and cover the casserole.
Bring the ragu to a boil and transfer it to a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Wait for 2 hours or until all of the meat is tender and soft.
Step 3: Making the bechamel sauce
The bechamel sauce is a kind of white sauce that’s made out of butter, flour, and milk. This is the component responsible for giving that gooey texture to your lasagna. Making this is quite simple.
However, you’ll need to be focused because one wrong move and the sauce will turn out bad.
Heat a saucepan and melt the butter. Once dissolved, add in the flour and mix until the two are forming a doughy texture.
Afterward, add in the milk. When adding the milk, pour it in batches as you stir it with the butter and flour. By doing so, you’ll be able to incorporate it more quickly without getting any clumps.
When you added all of the milk, quickly mix the grated parmesan, add a pinch of black pepper, a touch of salt, and a grating of fresh nutmeg. Once all are in, you’ll need to stir it continuously with your whisk for 10 minutes or until it’s thick.
- Remember, use a gentle heat and stir it continuously in moderate speed once all ingredients are mixed. If you fail even to stir it for 30 seconds, chances are there might be lumps in your bechamel sauce that could give it bad texture and flavor.
Step 4: Building Your Lasagna
With your bechamel and ragu sauce ready, you can now start building your lasagna sheets. Start by boiling salted water in a saucepan. Gently place the lasagna sheets and cook it as instructed in the package.
While waiting for the sheets, get a ladle and start pouring in the ragu sauce on a large baking tray. Don’t flood the tray with sauce, just enough to make the bottom red. When your pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander and start with one sheet first.
Building your lasagna depends on how your lasagna sheets pair with your tray. The main thing that you should remember is that you should cover the tray completely with pasta sheets.
Once you’ve covered the bottom, pour in ladles of the bechamel and ragu on top of the sheets. Again, don’t flood it and just add enough to season the pasta. At this stage, you can already add in the mozzarella, chopped boiled eggs, and grated parmesan cheese.
Repeat this step until your baking tray is full with the sheets. The top-most part of the lasagna must have the most generous serving of the ragu and bechamel. Grate in a lot of parmesan cheese so that the top will crisp up in the oven.
Now, just simply wrap it with aluminum foil and bake it in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. When your timer is up to 40 minutes already, take out the foil to allow the top to crisp up.
Wrapping It Up
This authentic lasagna recipe might scare a few of you who might think that this is too much work. Although it quite is, it’s only a testament to how passionate the Italians are in their home-cooking.
With that said, we suggest that you try this dish at least on a Sunday. It feeds a lot, and you can easily store it in the fridge and reheat it in the oven if there are extras. Not to mention, that ragu sauce can come in handy for a lot of other dishes!
So, did you like this recipe? If yes, share and comment below to let us know!