Probably the most famous Italian dish in the world. From the USA to China very bad versions of Italian lasagna feature the supermarket shelves, pre-made dishes ready to be microwaved or put in the oven for a couple of minute.
But in Italy lasagna signifies always something special, an event to celebrate together with the family and that brings people together. Lasagna is the queen dish during some of the most important family reunions, like Christmas or Eastern. In many families it is also the classical Sunday dish. Even though prepared for special occasions, its preparation is extremely easy.
To fill up a baking pan for 4 people you will need:
- About 20 foils of dry lasagna (the most adventurous can make it fresh).
- Around 900g ragù sauce, for the ragù you can follow our recipe The (in)famous bolognese sauce: Ragù
- 200 gr of grated parmigiano
- béchamel (white sauce):
- 40 gr of white flour
- 50 gr of butter
- 500 ml of milk muscat nut
- salt and pepper.
We start preparing the so called roux, letting the butter melt in a pot and adding the flour. Whisk the two ingredients on a low fire until a thick cream is formed. Always keep whisking gently in order to avoid the roux to burn.
Put the cream out of the fire and add the milk. Steer the liquid until roux and milk become homogeneous and put it back on the fire. Keep steering being particularly cautious to touch the bottom of the pot and avoid it to stick or burn. After a while the sauce will thicken.
As soon as you will be able to create lines on the surface of the cream, it will be ready. Take it out of the fire and add some muscat nut, salt and pepper and let the sauce rest.
In the meantime get all the ingredients and tools ready to create the lasagna layers.
At this point you have to make an important decision: pre-boil the lasagna foils or put them in the baking pan dry. Personally I prefer to pre-boil them, so that I don’t have to worry if my béchamel or ragù are not liquid enough. If you decide not to pre-boil, remember that you need a more liquid ragù to allow a proper cooking of the lasagna.
Put 3 lasagna foils in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
Meanwhile spread 3 spoons of ragù and 3 of béchamel on the bottom of the baking pan.
Take out the lasagna foils and put them in the pan in order to cover the entire surface.
Put in the water other 3 foils and prepare the first layer: on the first lasagna foils spread 3 spoons of ragù and 3 of béchamel, sprinkle with Parmigiano and take out of the water the second batch of lasagna foils.
Put the lasagna foils over the ragù, béchamel and Parmigiano layer, making sure they follow a different pattern than the first layer (if they were distributed vertically in the first layer, distribute them horizontally in the second). Put another layer of ragù, béchamel and parmesan and another layer of lasagna foil.
Keep doing this for 6 times, until you have reached the edge of the baking pan. At the end of the last layer, put more Parmigiano, so that it will form a crunchy crust in the oven.
Put the lasagna in the oven, pre-heated at 180 degrees for 25 minutes. During the first 20 minutes cover the baking pan with a tin foil. In the last 5 minutes remove the tin foil and activate the grill function to form a crunchy crust at the top of the lasagna. You can check the status of the lasagna sticking a knife or a fork into the pan. If it goes through easily, it means it’s ready.
Once you take the lasagna out of the oven, resist to the temptation of eating it right away. Instead wait 10-15 minutes, so that the lasagna will be more firm and easier to cut without falling apart. It is also easier to feel the taste if you don’t burn your tongue eating.