Italiano

Classic Cheese Lasagne

Special occasions, holidays & Sundays in our home always revolve around food

Surprise, surprise

It’s a tradition that both my husband and I grew up with and are proud to carry on

One memory we share is of homemade Italian Lasagne

Brings me right back to Sundays at my parents house

Layers of delicious pasta covered with gooey mozzarella, creamy ricotta cheese and tangy homemade tomato sauce… my mouth is watering just thinking about it

It may seem like there are a lot of steps to this Classic Cheese Lasagne, but that’s because we’ve made many components from scratch

Feel free to substitute dried lasagne noodles for the fresh pasta, but I implore you, please, please make your own tomato sauce

Homemade Tomato Sauce is so simple and worth the effort

Here are two versions that we make regularly, one on the stovetop: Simple Tomato Sauce and one in the slow cooker: Crock Pot Tomato Sauce

That being said, let’s start cooking!

Since there are a few components to this recipe, let’s break it down into some manageable steps

Cut a one pound block of mozzarella cheese into small cubes, set aside

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To prepare the ricotta cheese mixture, in a mixing bowl, place one 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese, 4 grated garlic cloves, 1/4 cup each of chopped fresh basil and parsley and 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper; stir well

We like to grate the garlic cloves on a box grater so it’s fine and so it blends evenly with the other ingredients

Now to make the bechamel sauce

This indulgent sauce is such a creamy, delicious addition to the lasagne

You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of whole milk, 3 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

I just have to make a comment regarding the nutmeg

Don’t omit this from the bechamel if possible.  It lends an earthy, warm flavor to the sauce that isn’t overpowering, but is a nice enhancement

You can find powdered nutmeg in the spice aisle of your grocery store.  But you may also be able to find whole nutmeg which is inexpensive and has a longer shelf life

Grate a bit of that little nut on a microplane or fine grater and you’ll be amazed at the amount of flavor (and wonderful smell!) that it produces

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Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add in the flour, salt and nutmeg and whisk about 5-7 minutes until a light golden brown

Slowly drizzle in the milk as you whisk

Heat until just boiling and stir constantly until smooth, about 10 minutes.  Set aside

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If you’re using dried pasta, cook a 1 pound box of lasagne noodles al dente according to the package instructions

If you’re using fresh pasta dough, we’ll begin at the point where the pasta has rested for at least 30 minutes after being mixed into a ball

Cut the dough into quarters and leave the remaining wedges covered in plastic wrap until you’re ready to roll

One quarter at a time, run through your pasta maker to roll into uniform sheets

All pasta rollers differ, so the actual thickness number will depend upon the brand.  We prefer a thin layer of fresh pasta; almost the equivalent to the thickness of what you would buy in a dried pasta

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In a 13″ by 9″ casserole pan, spoon in about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce to thinly layer the bottom.  This prevents the noodles from sticking

Add in the sheets of fresh pasta, trimmed to fit the pan, or the cooked dried pasta that is already pre-measured for a 13 x 9 pan

Evenly distribute the heaping tablespoons of ricotta cheese mixture over the pasta and sprinkle with mozzeralla chunks to form the first layer

Drizzle the layer with another 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and firmly press down to pack the layer of ingredients together

Repeat, covering each layer with the sheets of pasta, cheeses & sauce until you run out of ingredients (reserving about a 1/2 of a cup of mozzarella for the topping)

Enter bechamel

Remember?  The silky, indulgent guest we invited to this party?

Once all the layers are set in place, pour the bechamel sauce over the top layer of the pasta and spread out evenly with an offset spatula

This will create a luscious, creamy bubbly topping on this oh, so already delicious lasagne

Sprinkle with the reserved mozzarella and about a 1/3 of a cup of grated parmesan

Place in your oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes until the top is browned and bubbly

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Oh my.  Talk about bubbly goodness

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Take your masterpiece out of the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes

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Serve with extra tomato sauce and a satisfied smile

Enjoy!!

Simply Sundays! ~ Classic Cheese Lasagne

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients

6 – 8 cups tomato sauce

1 pound block of mozzarella cheese

Ricotta cheese mixture:

  • 1 –  32 ounce container of ricotta cheese
  • 4 grated garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper

Bechamel sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

1 pound box of dried lasagne noodles OR 1 pound fresh pasta

1/3 of a cup of grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cut a one pound block of mozzarella cheese into small cubes, set aside

To prepare the ricotta cheese mixture, in a mixing bowl, place 1 – 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese, 4 grated garlic cloves, 1/4 cup each of chopped fresh basil and parsley and 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper; stir well

For the Bechamel sauce, you’ll need 1 1/2 cups of whole milk, 3 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add in the flour, salt and nutmeg and whisk about 5-7 minutes until a light golden brown; slowly drizzle in the milk as you whisk

Heat until just boiling and stir constantly until smooth, about 10 minutes. Set aside

If you’re using dried pasta, cook a 1 pound box of lasagne noodles al dente according to the package instructions

If you’re using fresh pasta dough, we’ll begin at the point where the dough has rested for at least 30 minutes after being formed into a ball

Cut the dough into quarters and leave the remaining wedges covered in plastic wrap until you’re ready to roll; one quarter at a time, run through your pasta maker to roll into uniform sheets to your desired thickness

In a 13″ by 9″ casserole pan, spoon in about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce to thinly layer the bottom; add in one layer of fresh pasta, trimmed to fit the pan, or a layer of cooked dried pasta that is already pre-measured for a 13 x 9 pan

Evenly distribute 6 heaping tablespoons of ricotta cheese mixture over the pasta and sprinkle with mozzeralla chunks to form the first layer

Drizzle the layer with another 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and firmly press down to pack the ingredients together

Repeat, covering each layer with the sheets of pasta, cheeses & sauce until you run out of ingredients (reserving about a 1/2 of a cup of mozzarella for the topping)

Pour the bechamel sauce over the top layer of the pasta and spread out evenly with an offset spatula

Sprinkle with the reserved mozzarella and about a 1/3 of a cup of grated parmesan

Place in your oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes until the top is browned and bubbly

Take lasagne out of the oven and let sit for about 10 minutes

© Simply Sundays 2016
All rights reserved

4 comments on “Classic Cheese Lasagne

  1. I’ve been waiting for a lasagna recipe! You make it look so easy…thanks for the “how to”. Question: If I wanted to add ground turkey or beef, would any other adjustments to the recipe need to be made?

    Like

  2. We had the cheese lasagna tonight. Wow!! I’ve never had bechamel sauce before and wasn’t sure I would like it. Well…I did. 😀We always look forward to trying your recipes and you haven’t let us down.

    Like

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