Italiano

Classic Cheese Lasagne

Special occasions, holidays and 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.  Dinner was served early afternoon and always something big, like a roast beef or something Italian like lasagne

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, and there is.  But it’s well worth it.  Mainly because most of the components are made 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 minimal effort

Here are two versions that we make regularly.  One on the stovetop: Simple Tomato Sauce and one in the slowcooker: Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

That being said, let’s start cooking!

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

Shred a one pound block of mozzarella.  I put the block of cheese in the freezer for a few minutes to make shredding it a little easier

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To prepare the ricotta cheese mixture, assemble one 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese, 4 grated garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of fresh minced parsley and basil, 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper and 1/4 cup of crushed red pepper, 1 egg and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

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I like to grate the garlic cloves on a box grater so it blends evenly with the other ingredients

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine well

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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

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I just have to make a comment regarding the nutmeg

Nutmeg lends an earthy, warm flavor to the sauce that isn’t overpowering, but a nice enhancement

You can find powdered nutmeg in the spice aisle of your grocery store.  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

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes while stirring

Slowly drizzle in the milk as you whisk.  Heat until just boiling and stir constantly until thickened and smooth, about 10 minutes

Add in the kosher salt and nutmeg, stir and set aside

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

Drain and blot dry with paper towels

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 rolled into a ball

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I like to set up the work station at this point so once I start rolling the dough, I can begin the lasagne assembly line

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

Working with one quarter at a time, run the dough through your pasta maker until they are in uniform sheets

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

Spoon about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce to thinly layer the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ casserole pan

Add in the sheets of fresh pasta, trimmed to fit the pan or the cooked, pre-made pasta

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Evenly distribute about a third of the ricotta cheese mixture over the pasta and smooth out with an offset spatula

Sprinkle with a generous handful of the shredded mozzarella and a drizzle of the tomato sauce.  We prefer less sauce on the inside of the lasagne

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Repeat, covering each layer with pasta sheets, cheeses & sauce until you run out of ingredients ending on a layer of pasta.  Reserve about 1/2 cup of mozzerella for the topping

Enter bechamel

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

Pour over pasta and smooth out in a layer

Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if desired

Cover with foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 30 more minutes until the top is melty and bubbly.  Oh, this smells SO good!!

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Remove from the oven and let sit at least 10 minutes before you dig in!

Serve with additional tomato sauce and a satisfied smile!

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Enjoy!

Simply Sundays! ~ Classic Cheese Lasagne

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients

1 pound block of mozzerella

Ricotta cheese mixture

1 – 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese

4 grated garlic cloves

1/4 cup of fresh parsley and basil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup of crushed red pepper

1 egg

1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

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 of fresh pasta dough or 1 package of lasagne noodles

Tomato Sauce

Directions

Shred a one pound block of mozzarella, set aside

For the ricotta cheese mixture:

Assemble one 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese, 4 grated garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of freshly minced parsley and basil, 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper and 1/4 cup of crushed red pepper, 1 egg and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese

Grate the garlic cloves on a box grater so it blends evenly with the other ingredients

Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine well

For the bechamel sauce:

Measure out 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 and cook for 3-4 minutes while stirring; slowly drizzle in the milk as you whisk.  Heat until just boiling and stir constantly until thickened and smooth, about 10 minutes

Add in the kosher salt and nutmeg, stir and set aside

If you’re using dried pasta, cook a 1 pound package of lasagne noodles al dente according to the package instructions; drain and blot dry with paper towels

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 rolled into a ball

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

Working with one quarter at a time, run the dough through your pasta maker until they are in uniform sheets

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

Spoon about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce to thinly layer the bottom of a 13″ x 9″ casserole pan

Add in the sheets of fresh pasta, trimmed to fit the pan or the cooked, dried pasta

Evenly distribute about a third of the ricotta cheese mixture over the pasta and smooth out with an offset spatula

Sprinkle with a generous handful of the shredded mozzarella and a drizzle of the tomato sauce

Repeat, covering each layer with pasta sheets, cheeses & sauce until you run out of ingredients ending on a layer of pasta.  Reserve about 1/2 cup of mozzarella for the topping

Pour bechamel sauce over pasta and smooth out in a layer

Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if desired

Cover with foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 30 more minutes until the top is melted and bubbly

Remove from the oven and let sit at least 10 minutes

Serve with additional tomato sauce and a satisfied smile!

Tools used to make this recipe

Architec Carving Board, Gripperwood

OXO Good Grips Flat Wire Whisk

Royal Classique 10 Piece Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons Set with Silicone Handles

Cuisinart Boxed Grater

Mini Prep Glass Bowl

Stainless Steel Grater/zester

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer

KitchenAid 3-Piece Pasta Roller & Cutter Attachment Set

Farberware Classic Series Stainless Steel Saucepan

Norpro Stainless Steel Scraper/Chopper

Click here to check out the Reviews.com write up on the Kitchen Aid Mixer:

The Best KitchenAid Mixer

© Simply Sundays 2018
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