Stella, May I know how you make lasagna uncomplicated?

7:21 PM Unknown 0 Comments

Of course you may. Growing up I used to think baked, savory dishes were wondrous, but they were such a mystery to me. The closest I had to actually making lasagna was buying the pre-made, frozen trays. They were delicious to me at the time but that was because I didn't know how simple and uncomplicated making actual lasagna was! Today's Tutorial Tuesday is how to simply make lasagna. 
The first step is to have everything prepped. Clockwise from the bottom left: sliced cremini mushrooms, browned ground beef, shredded cheese, pot of tomato sauce, baking dish (with first layer already in), and seasoned milk. 
Normally I don't have a container of milk, but I used the lasagna sheets from Trader Joe's and they call for the sheets to be dipped in milk. I decided adding freshly ground nutmeg would boost the flavor even more. If I like nutmeg in all my white sauces (think bechamel and alfredo), then adding a little nutmeg here would only help. 
Before you start dipping and assembling, this would be a good time to make sure you lasagna sheets will fit in your baking dish. We just have the one 9x9", so we cut our sheets to fit. You could do it the other way (find a baking dish to fit your lasagna sheets), then you won't need to cut your sheets. 
Time for assembly! This is was quite fun for me to build this. I really liked to make the layers! First add a layer of sauce to the pan. This added step will help get your lasagna out of the pan!
Then dip the sheets and lay them in. 
Next I added the sliced mushrooms. You can also see from this picture I like to have a little overlap with my noodles. I like to think they stick together this way. I don't think I have ever noticed a lasagna with separated noodles, but it would be such a sad moment to see that happen. 
After the mushrooms, I added in the ground beef. For this dish I used about a pound of ground beef and 6 large mushrooms. 
Then the cheese. That's not nearly enough cheese.. 
 I like to have the entire layer covered with cheese. So much so that you can't see the beef or mushrooms underneath. This was when Mister tasted the tomato sauce and determined it wasn't spicy enough. Here he is sprinkling in cayenne pepper. Mind you, we like the heat so what you see above is a lot of spiciness added.
 Then I just repeated all the layers until I reached the top. Tomato sauce, dipped lasagna sheets, mushrooms, beef, (cayenne pepper), and cheese.
 For the very top layer, I normally see just noodle and cheese. However I like to see what kind of lasagna is underneath. So I saved two tablespoons of beef for the top. I have noodle, then sauce, then beef and then a lot of cheese. Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes. (I covered the dish for the first 40 minutes, then really let the cheese brown for the last ten minutes.)  *Trader Joe's lasagna sheets call for a waiting time for 30 minutes to allow the milk to soak into the noodles. I also poured in the remaining seasoned milk into the dish before the waiting period. The instructions didn't say this, but I think it prevented the dish from drying out.
 Lasagna is a lot like pizza. You can pick any combination and add as many ingredients you. (That is until you baking dish is full.) You will need the basics: a sauce, lasagna noodles, and cheese. Then add in whatever you want. Assorted vegetables for a veggie lasagna. Sausage and mushroom? Pepperoni? Once you have decided on all the ingredients, all you do is assemble and bake! It's so simple that I feel a little ashamed I used to buy the premade ones. I hope I have uncomplicated that lasagna process for you today. Comment below with your favorite lasagna combinations!

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