The oldest kind of pasta produced in Italy? Well, yes. When you look at a Lasagna sheet you’re definitely looking at the mother of all pasta shapes, the one that started it all.
And like all pasta, you’ll find that lasagna recipes change according to regional traditions: Liguria will serve them with freshly made pesto, in Puglia you’ll eat them with fresh tomatoes, basil and ricotta, in the surrounding of Naples you’ll taste them with ragù but not baked. There are lots of variations for the dough as well. Luckily for us, Italians are always on a food creative drive.
We’re going for the most classic recipe today, the one everyone thinks of when you say “lasagna”. Freshly made lasagna pasta sheets (did you check out our fresh pasta making recipe?) stuffed with homemade ragù, béchamel sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano. Takes a while, rewards tenfold and we’ve still got lots of time at home, right? You could buy the pasta ready made, as well as the ragù, but here is the recipe to do it all yourself.
Recipe for 6:
For the ragù sauce
1 large onion
1 stalk celery
½ a glass white wine
4 oz pancetta
2 oz tomato paste
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork (a fatty cut, ideally belly)
salt and pepper to taste
For the lasagna
1 lb fresh lasagne sheets
¼ lb Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
1 lb béchamel sauce
½ lb mozzarella
Finely chop the onion, celery, and carrot. In a large pot heat a tablespoon of EVOO and add the vegetables. Cook for a few minutes on a high flame, once browning add the wine. Then lower the flame to medium and add the diced pancetta and tomato paste.
Once it changes color add the meats, and season with salt and pepper. The ragù should cook at low flame for at least two hours, but even longer works great, some keep it going for up to six! During cooking, mix frequently, if it starts sticking to the pan you can add a little water.
Time to build your lasagne!
In a deep oven tray, layer all ingredients as follows: lasagne sheet, béchamel, ragù, mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano cheese. Repeat with 3 to 5 layers, depending on how many sheets you have/size of tray. Finish with a top layer of just pasta sheets, béchamel and Parmigiano Regginao cheese. Pour half a cup of water in the corners of the tray, this will help cook through the pasta, and keep your lasagne moist. Bake at 360°C for about 1 hour, or until brown and crispy.