Theo Randall, known for his culinary expertise, generously shares his treasured classic Italian lasagna recipe, showcasing the essence of authentic Italian cuisine. This delicious creation consists of carefully crafted layers, each clearly defined, culminating in a symphony of flavors that will undoubtedly delight your taste buds. The highlight is the heavenly creaminess of the béchamel sauce, which turns this popular family meal into a new culinary experience. Enjoyed by all, this timeless dish is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on your palate and exudes the unmistakable essence of Italian tradition.
- 250g pack of fresh lasagna sheets
- Olive oil for greasing
- large handful of grated Parmesan
- 110g unsalted butter
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 25 g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained and roughly chopped
- 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
- 1kg trimmed beef or veal flank, finely chopped (ask your butcher to do this for you)
- 125 ml dry white wine
- 400 g chopped canned tomatoes
- 1l whole milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 75g unsalted butter
- 125 g pasta flour “00”.
- good grated nutmeg
- 100g Parmesan, finely grated
- 2 egg yolks
- Melt the butter in a large ovenproof baking dish over medium heat until foaming.
- Add celery, carrot, onion, porcini mushrooms, rosemary and some spice and fry for 5 minutes.
- Season the meat, add it to the bowl and fry for 5 minutes until browned.
- Pour in the wine, add the tomatoes and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, place the lid on the bowl and cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Remove the lid for the last 30 minutes to allow the sauce to simmer.
- The meat should be tender but not too shredded and the sauce should be thick. Taste for seasoning.
- If you have time, you can cook it longer – the taste will only get better.
- Pour the milk into a saucepan with the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat and set aside.
- In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat then stir in the flour and hot milk.
- Whisk vigorously until smooth, then cook for 10-15 minutes until very thick.
- Remove the bay leaf and season, season with grated nutmeg.
- Stir in Parmesan and egg yolk and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
- Working in batches of three, dip the pasta sheets in a pot of boiling salted water for 20 seconds to soften, then immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice-cold water.
- Rub the bottom and sides of a large baking dish with oil.
- Place a layer of pasta on the base, then add a layer of ragout and then a layer of béchamel sauce.
- A good tip for really defined layers is to drizzle the béchamel sauce on top.
- Repeat this process until you have used up all the pasta and ragout, finishing with a layer of béchamel sauce.
- Sprinkle the top with a generous layer of Parmesan cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown, then remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Cut the lasagna into squares and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving – this keeps the layers defined and the lasagna cools faster.
Equipment and tools
Here are the essential equipment and tools you need to make classic Italian lasagna:
- baking pan
- Big pot
- frying pan
- Sharp knife
- cutting board
- measuring cup
This Classic Italian Lasagna recipe contains the following allergens:
Please be aware of these allergens if you or your guests have dietary restrictions or allergies.
Storage and leftovers
If you have leftover classic Italian lasagna, follow these storage guidelines:
- Allow the lasagna to cool completely before storing.
- Transfer remaining lasagna to an airtight container.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To reheat, place the lasagna in a preheated 350°F oven for about 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
Enjoy the leftover lasagna within the recommended storage time.
The health benefits of classic Italian lasagna
Italian cuisine is loved and celebrated worldwide for its delicious flavors and hearty dishes. The classic Italian lasagna is no exception, offering a tantalizing combination of ingredients that not only satisfies the taste buds but also offers multiple health benefits. From fresh lasagna sheets to carefully selected vegetables and lean meats, this popular Italian dish can be a nutritious addition to your meals. Let’s explore some of the health benefits of the main ingredients of a traditional classic Italian lasagna recipe:
Fresh lasagna sheets
Using fresh rather than dried lasagna sheets can significantly improve the overall flavor and texture of the dish. Fresh pasta retains more moisture and has a lighter, silkier texture. It also contains fewer preservatives and additives compared to dried pasta. Additionally, using fresh pasta allows for a shorter cooking time, thereby retaining more nutrients.
Extra virgin olive oil
Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet and is known for its numerous health benefits. When used in moderation, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can contribute to heart health because it is rich in monounsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol levels. EVOO is also an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamin E, which can protect cells from free radical damage.
Grated Parmesan cheese
Parmesan cheese is commonly used in Italian cuisine for its rich, nutty flavor. Although it is high in fat and calories, it is also a good source of essential nutrients. Parmesan cheese is rich in protein and calcium, which are important for bone health. It also contains significant amounts of vitamins A and B12 as well as phosphorus.
Lean flank of beef or veal
The protein-rich beef or veal flank used in classic Italian lasagna provides essential amino acids that are essential for muscle growth and repair. Additionally, lean cuts of meat contain less saturated fat compared to fattier cuts of meat, making them a healthier protein option. Beef and veal are also excellent sources of iron, zinc and vitamin B12, which are necessary for red blood cell production and a healthy immune system.
The rich, tomato-based sauce in lasagna offers a variety of health benefits. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins C and A as well as antioxidants such as lycopene. Lycopene has been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers and may help protect against heart disease. Tomatoes are also low in calories and high in fiber, which promotes satiety and supports digestive health.
Aromatic herbs and vegetables
The addition of celery, carrot, onion and rosemary gives the classic Italian lasagna more depth of flavor and nutritional value. This vegetable is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals and at the same time low in calories. Celery is known for its diuretic properties and can help maintain healthy blood pressure. Carrots are an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamin K, which are essential for eye health and blood clotting. Onions are rich in antioxidants and can help reduce inflammation in the body. Rosemary adds flavor and is a good source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
The classic Italian lasagna is not only a wonderfully comforting dish, but also offers numerous health benefits. From the fresh ingredients to the nutritional value they provide, this classic recipe can be a healthy addition to your Italian-inspired meals.