By Laura Tartaglia
In Italy, as part of the popular culture, many families follow a weekly meal plan, perhaps to ensure a balanced diet. There is a main dish for each day of the week.
Sunday: everything with tomato sauce – this includes ragout, pasta with tomato sauce and lasagna, which we will learn to cook today.
Sunday is also the day of the family, for instance the whole extended family would gather, or we would visit our grandparents. So lasagna is very suitable because you can make a very big portion for everyone.
In Italian, this dish is called “lasagne” which is the plural form (I have no idea why). The oldest recipe of lasagne originated in Naples in the 13th century. One theory is that the name lasagne comes from the vulgar Latin (Latin spoken in Naples) “De lasanis“, which means from the pot.
The recipe I have today is my mother’s, Elena. This recipe makes 4 servings.
Ingredients for sauce
1.5-2 litres of tomato sauce
1 medium sized carrot
1 medium onion
Salt to taste
250-300g minced meat (can be beef or pork or a mixture)
500ml of bechamel sauce
Ingredients for building the pasta
5-6 lasagne sheets the size of your dish (you can get fewer bigger sheets and cut them)
*250g shredded mozzarella (for a more authentic version get fresh mozzarella and crumble into little pieces by hand)
*100-150g sliced or shredded ham (prosciutto cotto)
*100-150g grated parmesan (again for a more authentic version get a block and grate it by hand)
*These are estimates, but the more you use the tastier it will be.
1. Place the ingredients for the sauce EXCEPT the bechamel in a pot and cook on low heat for 1 to 1.5 hours. Remove the carrot and onion (we only need them for the taste).
2. Let the mixture cool down and mix the bechamel sauce in.
3. Now it is time to build your lasagna. Take a rectangular or square baking dish/casserole dish and coat it with the sauce so the lasagna will not stick to the dish.
4. Place the first sheet of pasta in the dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella and ham, then layer the sauce and sprinkled grated parmesan over. This is your first layer.
5. Repeat step 4 with a second sheet of pasta. Do this for up to 4 or 5 layers.
6. On the final layer, place a sheet of pasta and ONLY place the grated parmesan and the sauce over so it creates a crust after baking.
7. Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Bake the dish for half an hour. The setting should be at the fan oven.
And now you can get a taste of Elena’s lasagne!
HomSkil would like to thank Laura for her contributions to this blog. See her first contribution in the post entitled “Enjoy an Antipasto”. HomSkil would also like to thank Elena for her recipe. Italian mothers are known for their wonderful cooking.
Posted by Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 4 April 2021