A Really Good Lasagne

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What’s the best lasagne you ever had the delight to dig your fork into? 
My own vegetarian lasagne complete with bechamel


Was it a beef lasagne, or was it vegetarian? Have you ever really eaten a really good vegetarian lasagne? How about a low-fat lasagne? Ever had one? Ever thought one was good enough to satisfy your lasagne fantasies? Which one was the best you ever ate? Which variety had you looking for more even though you knew you didn’t need it, and then unbuckling the belt at the end of the meal?

For me, the best lasagne I’ve ever eaten was always the one that probably had the highest fat count. Beef or vegetarian doesn’t matter, as long as it has cheese and béchamel sauce and the oily residue left upon my place once I’m done. Skip the salad and give me another piece as it’s always a birthday favourite.

I’ve done low-fat versions in the past, always wondering why it was a bit dry. I’ve left out the béchamel sauce for the sake of fewer calories, but always relished it whenever I ordered a lasagne out. Never knew how to make the sauce, but loved it anyway. Never quite knew how to make a low-fat version that tasted just as good.

After a few years of trying, I think I’ve hit upon the best way to make a really good vegetarian lasagne now that I’m not a fan of meat anymore. I make it exactly the same way I would a beef lasagne, just with added veg. And I’ve discovered that that is the best way to make a lasagne – just keep it real to the original.

For the beef sauce:
Fry some onions or leeks (depends what I have in the fridge).
Fry the beef mince (I use around 150-200g for my husband and he gets 2 nights, or 4 pieces out of the finished lasagne).
Add in a tin of diced tomatoes
1 cup of chicken/veg/beef stock
Add in 3 heaped tablespoons or a small tin of tomato paste.
Add plenty of herbs (I use dried and throw in lots of (about 2 tbs of each) basil, parsley and oregano, but you can also use marjoram or thyme as well).
Season and mix together well.
Let it sit for a while to thicken and for the tomatoes to break down a bit.
For the vegetarian sauce:
Fry some onions or leeks.
Add some grated carrot and grated zucchini (or finely chopped of these and some finely chopped capsicum, or other vegetables you have on hand).
Add in a tin of diced tomatoes.
1 cup chicken/veg stock
Add in 3 heaped tablespoons or a small tin of tomato paste.
Add plenty of herbs (I use dried and throw in lots of (about 2 tbs of each) basil, parsley and oregano, but you can also use marjoram or thyme as well).
Season and mix together well.
Let it sit for a while to thicken and for the tomatoes to break down a bit.
Add in a tin of washed lentils towards the end of the cooking time.
For the béchamel sauce:
I followed this recipe from Taste.com.au. Be wary though, the recipe is for a large quantity. I halved the recipe and had enough béchamel for both a beef and a vegetarian lasagne. My layer of béchamel was about 0.5 – 1cm in depth. Make more if you want a saucier lasagne.
For the lasagne:
Put a layer of the sauce on the bottom of your dish.
Add dollops of ricotta cheese throughout this layer of sauce.
Layer on top of this fresh lasagne sheets so the whole layer is covered and there is minimal overlapping.
Spread on another layer of the sauce and add in any thinly sliced vegetables to this layer for the vegetarian lasagne, or to the beef if you want some extra veg in it.
Layer on the fresh lasagne sheets again.
Put on a final layer of sauce.
Spread over the layer of béchamel sauce.
To cook:
Cover the lasagne with foil and cook for about 20 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees celsius.
Test a tiny piece of the lasagne pasta sheet. It should be almost ready.
Sprinkle cheese over the top of the lasagne and bake again in the oven, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the lasagne pasta is fully cooked.
To serve:
Let the lasagne cool for a few minutes while you throw together a salad.
If you have an awesome lasagne recipe, let us all know and share it in the comments.
Enjoy!

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