The weather in Holland has been so crazy lately! Last week was rainy, wet and wintery and saw me wearing full waterproof gear just to cycle to work, while this week has been blue skies and sunshine coinciding with cold beers and boat trips. Following a beautiful day on the boat on Tuesday with Jacob, his brother and brother-in-law, we returned home absolutely famished, so I decided to make my homemade cheesy lasagne.
I found this recipe in a cookbook a few years ago and as I never remembered to write down the recipe, I added my own twist by using my own bolognese filling for this delicious dish. It might take a bit of time at the start but now that I am used to making this meal, it takes me approximately 40 minutes from preparing the ingredients to putting it on the table! Even better, this lasagne tastes even more lekker the day after! I use a simple, homemade white sauce for my lasagna which tastes especially delicious with the melted cheese topping. It is very simple and easy to make and it is a healthier option to the prepackaged ones you buy in the shop! Personally I always buy the cheapest lasagne sheets as I am on a modest budget and I don’t notice a difference (so professional lol) but if you would prefer to buy a more expensive brand then that is completely up to you.
For the bolognese:
- 500g lean minced beef
- 1 red pepper
- 2 onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 250ml chicken stock
- Half a jar of red pesto
- 1 tbsp Italian herbs
- 1 tsp sugar
- Salt and Pepper
For the white sauce:
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- approximately 300ml milk (I never really measure but read below for details) 🙂
- Salt and pepper
- 1 packet lasagne sheets (of course!)
- 1 packet grated cheese (although any sort of cheese will do as cheese is just delicious)
- Heat the oven to 200C.
- Chop the onions and garlic and fry in a saucepan in some olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the minced meat, herbs, salt and pepper and leave to cook for five minutes. Then, add the red pepper and leave for another five minutes.
- In the meantime you can begin the simple white sauce. Melt the butter a saucepan. Take off the heat and add the flour. Mix until it turns to a breadcrumb consistency. If you find that the mixture is very gooey, simply add more flour.
- Place back on the heat and slowly add the milk. As I said, I never add a set amount of milk, but it should be approximately 300ml. As you add the milk while stirring constantly, you will know when the mixture is becoming too watery. If you feel like you have added too much, then simply leave it on the heat for a little longer while stirring until it thickens. Add salt and pepper and set aside as you finish the bolognese.
- Add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes to the bolognese followed by 250ml stock cube. I personally like my bolognese to be thick and sweet but if you like the sauce to be a bit thinner just add more water. From experience I find that a thicker bolognese sauce makes the lasagne easier to cut into slices once it is cut.
- To the bolognese mix add the sugar and pesto. The sugar is optional but it adds a sweetness to counter the sourness of the tomatoes.
- Bring to the boil and reheat your white sauce.
- In a large, glass pyrex dish you will begin to layer the lasagne. Depending on the size of your dish you will normally have 2-3 layers. In my dish, I normally have 2 so I half the amount of bolognese and white sauce to each layer.
- The first layer is as follows: 1 layer bolognese, 1 layer white sauce, 3-4 sheets of lasange until the mixture is covered.
- Layer 2: 1 layer bolognese, 1 layer lasagne sheets, the remaining white sauce. It is very important to layer the top layer of the lasagne in this order as you will add the cheese on top. Sometimes if done incorrectly, the cheese will burn into the lasagne sheets and becomes very hard. If you are using three layers then simply repeat layer one twice but ensure that the top layer is finished with the white sauce on top.
- Add 1 packet of cheese to the top layer of white sauce and pop in the oven at 200C for about 25 minutes. If you want to test if it is cooked, simply stick a knife in the middle. If the lasagne sheets still feel a bit hard simply pop back in for another 5-6 minutes until they soften.
- Serve and enjoy!!
I think that this recipe is really simple and it is also very cheap to make. Especially if you wanted to make this dish for a weeks worth of dinners to reheat it grows in taste every day! If I have any cheese that has gone a bit hard I never throw it out and keep it to top a lasagne if I make it as it tastes absolutely perfect when cooked! So please try out my recipe and let me know how you get on!