gustatory exploits

My Lasagna (version)

 

Ever since I learned how to make lasagna three years ago, I’ve been cooking it every birthdays and holidays. When I serve this to our guests, nothing is always left. (No kidding!). Last New Year’s Eve, I made one again this time for personal consumption so I can have it all to myself.

Initially, I had to rely on a recipe I find online. But after some time, I got hold of my own version that leans toward the Filipino palate–the type that’s sweet and at the same time zesty and with a hint of chili. Some may disagree with my version but, of course, you can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste and the number of people you want served.

I’m happy to learn that making lasagna is not complicated at all. Preparation is key: you can make the beef sauce and the béchamel sauce separately or a night ahead of time, before you plan to cook it. Just make sure it’s stored right in the refrigerator.

 

So here’s my personal version:

 

For the beef sauce:

½ Kilo ground beef

250 grams tomato sauce

1 can whole peeled tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed/ or ½ teaspoon lemon zest  (optional)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

Chopped parsley

3 cloves garlic minced

1 large red onion minced

1 small piece of red chili, sliced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 

For the béchamel sauce:

¾ cup butter

¾ cup flour

1 can 250 grams evaporated milk

1 pack of all-purpose cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Cook the pasta according to package directions. To make sure that the pasta doesn’t get soggy. Cook it a minute less than what is indicated in the package. If the package direction indicate a 10-minute cooking time turn off the heat by 8 to 9 minutes. Rest the pasta in the water for the remaining 1 to 2 minutes before draining it and running it under cold water. Set aside.

 

Making the tomato beef sauce:

  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil. When translucent, add the beef,
  • Sauté beef with the onions and garlic and let it brown,
  • Mash the whole peeled tomatoes, add then simmer;
  • Add the tomato sauce, and let it simmer again;
  • Mix in the lemon juice and brown sugar,
  • Season with salt and pepper, chili.
  • Put in parsley then let simmer a minute more before turning off the heat.

 

For the béchamel sauce:

  • In a saucepan, heat butter until melted then, add flour. Make a roux.
  • Slowly pour in evaporated milk and all purpose cream,  whisking all the while until the roux becomes incorporated with the liquid;
  • Season with salt and pepper;
  • Add shredded mozzarella cheese—use just enough so as not to thicken the sauce too much. You can use what’s left as toppings later.

 

Preparing the lasagna

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Butter the bottom of a medium-sized rectangular baking dish. Ladle some bechamel sauce and spread;
  • Arrange first layer of the pasta,  then pour tomato sauce on top;
  • Then spread béchamel sauce over the tomato sauce;
  • Arrange second layer of the pasta;
  • Repeat the layering procedure;
  • Once all pasta have been layered top it with the remaining béchamel sauce, fresh parsley and load it with mozzarella cheese;
  • Bake until golden brown;
  • Let stand for five to 10 minutes before serving.

 

Enjoy! 🙂

 

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