Lasagna should not have béchamel sauce.
After more than a week of an on-going headache/migraine I woke up this morning after 10 hours of sleep to find myself feeling refreshed, energized and pain free. I had gone to the doctor on Thursday where she prescribed me enough painkillers to, in her words, "put down a horse." I expected to feel great an hour or so after I popped them, even if it meant I was sedated, but that didn't happen. I took more on Friday and again, nothing happened. And then Saturday I was still stuck with the same pain. I don't know what this says about me or horses.
Imagine my surprise when this morning I woke up at 10am with zero pain!
"10 am?!" you say. Um, I thought you had a toddler and a busy weekend schedule of being a busy, important person. That is where you are mistaken. I still have the toddler, but I also have an amazing husband who let me have a lie in. I'm pretty sure he meant, "Honey, sleep in until 8.30" but my brain heard "Honey, sleep in until you wake up disoriented because of the positioning of the sun shining through the window."
Because I feel so great a few things got done today -- like dinner! I made lasagna. Not just any lasagna; my mother's lasagna. Why is this special? Well, it's delicious, for one; and two, I can not find lasagna made like this anywhere else in Ireland. My lasagna is one of a kind here.
Why is this? Because someone got it into their head that lasagna should be made with béchamel sauce. It's a milk, flour and butter sauce. In short, it's disgusting. I think it has no taste and it only makes a lasagna soggy. I will like to get rid of this lasagna all together and enlighten the people of Ireland. To hopefully rectify the problem of soggy, gross tasting Irish lasagna, I am going to bless you with my lasagna recipe. Go on, feel loved.
A few things to keep in mind before you start cooking:
This is an easy recipe. For all I know my mom copied it from the back of a noodle box. It doesn't matter how basic it is -- it's delicious. Is your recipe great, as well? Unless it has béchamel, I'm sure it is. This is super easy but super yummy.
I make a smaller lasagna because it only has to feed two big people and one small person and my pan does that easily for two days. Obviously, if you have more people to feel, increase the ingredients accordingly.
What you will need:
No cook lasagna noodles. Roma makes good ones.
.500kg of lean mince meat
1 large jar of tomato sauce or about 1.5 jars of the regular size.
1 bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 block of mozzarella cheese
250g of ricotta cheese
Other preferred vegetables (optional)
An aluminum pan
What to do:
Set your oven to around 190 degrees C.
You know your oven so if it needs to be adjusted, do so.
In a pan, cook the onions and others veg. When they look nearly done, add in the mince and cook until brown. Drain.
You don't need any veg at all, if you don't want. Sometimes I'll even buy sauce that has veg already added, making this whole process even easier.
Add about a quarter of the tomato sauce into the pan with the mince and veg and let simmer.
As soon as my mother's friends read this they are going to give her a hard time about not teaching me how to make my own tomato sauce. She did teach me, I just didn't listen. Thank you, Ragu.
Grab a bowl and dump in your ricotta cheese, and crack open an egg. Mix until blended. Add in garlic salt and oregano to taste and mix in.
If you prefer other spices throw those in too, but I have a simple, unsophisticated palate.
With a few dribbles of the tomato sauce from the jar, coat the bottom of your pan.
My mother insists that if you coat the bottom of a pan with tomato sauce the food won't stick. I have no idea if this is true but so far any time I have done this, nothing is burnt or sticking.
Lay one layer of noodles down in your pan, next to one another.
I use four for my pan.
Take a few globs of the ricotta cheese mixture and spread on the noodles.
I am conservative in the beginning with the amounts and then get less so when I can estimate how much I have left as I get to my last layer, but you might like more on the bottom then the top.
Next add more sauce and spread over the ricotta cheese.
With a large spoon, add some of the mince.
Like the ricotta, I use less on the bottom layers.
Add a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Again, I use less on the bottom than I do the top layers. Obviously my top layers are awesome.
Add another layer of noodles and do the process all over again until you have run out of ricotta, shredded mozzarella, and mince.
Lay one more layer of noodles on top and spread sauce all over them. You want to cover them or the noodles won't cook properly.
Slice up your block of mozzarella in slices about a centimeter wide. Lay them on top of the sauce, next to one another.
Whatever you can't fit in the pan, eat yourself.
Your lasagna assembly is complete. Congratulations. Have some wine and check the oven is ready.
Take a piece of tin foil and cover your pan completely.
Make sure the middle of the foil doesn't sag and touch the sliced mozzarella on top or while cooking it will stick to the bottom of the foil and annoying the shit out of you.
Place in oven for 40 minutes. Once 40 minutes is up, take the foil off and place again in oven for another 10 minutes or so.
I like mine a little crunchy on top so I let it sit a little longer.
Take your lasagna out of the oven and serve!
Mine turned out ugly, like it always does. And my mozzarella did indeed stick to the foil, annoying the shit out of me.