Beef Lasagne - layers of gooey white sauce, pasta and slow cooked meat sauce! It's a given, everyone loves lasagne which is why it is one of our favourite recipes to make for dinner parties! Easy to make, comforting and oh so delicious!
Um, ok so how is it almost September? And almost fall? I have no idea where the last 8 months went and especially where the last three months of summer went, but to be honest, a tiny part of me is already starting to embrace the upcoming fall months and I'm a little excited!
We've had a stinker of a summer here in Oregon. Usually, the summers are mild and warm but OH EM GEE it was actually been so, so hot. Like around about 90+ degrees (between 35-40 Celsius!). I think it's been the hottest summer in a long, long time and without air conditioning in our house, we definitely felt it! Poor Archie didn't know what hit him the last few months, he is definitely a cold weather dog!
So as it goes, I am actually ready for fall. We've been having the most beautiful mornings lately - cold and fresh mornings that turn into bright sunny days! I actually love the fall, it's maybe my favourite season, I haven't decided yet! Adam and I were just chatting the other day about how we can't wait to bunker down this fall, light the fire, open the red and enjoy just chilling after a hectic summer!
I've been planning THCK content for the next few months and I am so excited to embrace the seasonal produce and flavours. In the next few months, you'll be seeing a lot of apple, pear, and pumpkin inspired recipes, lots of comfort dishes, cozy fall cocktails and some beautiful dishes to help you prepare for Thanksgiving. It really is the best time of year!
So with that in mind, let's kick off the unofficial fall season with this gorgeous, cozy and comforting beef lasagne recipe!
Easy Beef Lasagne Recipe
Lasagne was never a dish I really had growing up, but it has always been a dish that I've loved. You can imagine how happy I was when I started dating Adam 10 years ago (holy crap, 10 years!) and found out his Mum's speciality was lasagne. Along with risotto, Adam makes a mean beef lasagne, but I have to say, his Mother's is better!
Beef lasagne is one of those dishes that I think everyone loves, which is why we love to make it for our friends. Who can say no to gooey layers of white cheese sauce, red wine meat sauce and perfectly cooked pasta! This one is more of a traditional Australian-Italian made lasagne, there is no ricotta unlike the American version, and this particular version is catered more toward the everyday cook.
I will say though, this recipe does take a little time and patience, but to be honest, a lot of that time is spent simmering ingredients and actually baking the final product. We've also found that this is the perfect recipe to make the night before, and actually tastes better when it's made 24 hours in advance. It allows time for the flavours to soak into the pasta. If we're having friends around on a Friday, we'd make it, assemble it and refrigerate it Thursday night. Then all we need to do it preheat the oven Friday night, whack it in and cook it! Too easy!
Key Tips for Making Beef Lasagne
The Lasagne Sheets
This is a SUPER IMPORTANT step when making beef lasagne, and one that we couldn't figure out for ages when we moved to America! Use lasagne sheets that DO NOT have to be precooked. This recipe does not allow time for precooking lasagne sheets, so make sure you find ones that can be used straight away in the oven. The first time we made this beef lasagne in America we wondered why it was so hard and chewy, then realised you had to precook your lasagne sheets. For the sized dish I used, I used around three-quarters of a box of lasagne sheets.
In Australia, we've never had an issue. From memory, most lasagne sheets don't have to be precooked.
If you're feeling a little fancy, fresh lasagne also works a dream! See my recipe notes for more information on cooking with fresh lasagne sheets.
The Meat Sauce
The meat sauce for this recipe is a simple beef style ragu with onion, celery and carrots mixed together with crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and a dash of red wine and stock. The key to making the perfect meat sauce for a lasagne, however, is the consistency, and consistency depends on the type of pasta you use!
Generally, you don't want your meat sauce too sloppy or too dry. Sloppy, wet sauce will result in sloppy lasagne that is difficult to cut. On the other hand, super dry ragu will result in dry lasagne. As a general rule, I cook my bolognese for 40 minutes uncovered, then a further 30 minutes covered until it's reached it's desired consistency. You'll want a little liquid showing on the top of your meat sauce, but not so much that the meat is drowned in the sauce.
The Cheese Sauce aka Roux
The base for the white cheese sauce is a simple roux. Roux translates to 'fat and flour cooked together to thicken a sauce'. For a smooth white sauce, there are a few things to consider.
- When adding the flour, the dough should be covered in butter and left to fry for a few minutes.
- When adding the milk, do it very slowly and use a whisk to gently whisk the lumps out.
- Avoid lumpy roux by using a whisk to break up the flour chunks.
- Be patient - the white sauce takes about 10 minutes even before it's started to thicken. Keep whisking as you don't want the sauce to burn.
- Cheese - I use white cheddar for the sauce as I love the sharpness of the cheddar and it comes together nicely.
The Type of Pan To Use
This will forever be my nemesis when it comes to lasagne cooking! After trying to decide all morning about what pan to use for the amount of lasagne I had, in the end, I went for my enamel loaf pan which measures 11"x6"/27cmx15cm, and it fitted absolutely perfectly! This loaf pan created a higher lasagne that served 4 people.
In the past, I have also used an 8"x8"/20cmx20cm square pan, and small Pyrex baking dish that measured around 11"x7"/27cmx17cm. These dish sizes are all around the same width and length, however different depths which means your lasagne may be smaller in height.
The pan does not make or break the recipe, however, it does mean that the shape of the lasagne may change, or you may end up with some leftover cheese and meat sauce.
Final Step - How to Assemble a Beef Lasagne
The assembly process is quite simple; meat, pasta, cheese sauce until either everything runs out or you have reached the capacity of your pan. Always end up with a cheese layer at the very top of your lasagne.
You will need to break the lasagne to fit the shape of your pan if you're using dried packet lasagne. This can get a little messy, however as you don't actually see the lasagne pasta layers, it doesn't matter if you don't cut them perfectly to shape. I found that one lasagne sheet fitted perfectly in my enamelware loaf pan, and then I had to attempt to cut one long strip for the side and a few smaller pieces to fill in the gaps.
So there you have it - tips and tricks to make yourself a gorgeous, cozy and fulfilling lasagne! Great for easy weeknight meals, dinner parties for four, potlucks or for an easy freezer meal!
And here's a happy almost September - what are you looking forward to this fall?
G x x
Easy Beef Lasagne
- 1 lbs mince
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 1 stick of celery diced
- 1 cups beef stock
- ½ cup red wine
- 14.5 oz can tomatoes
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tbs butter
- 4 tbs plain flour
- 1 teaspoon seeded mustard
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup cheddar cheese grated + extra for top
- 9 oz packet of dried lasagne you'll use around 4-5 oz or about half the packet
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large fry pan or 5 qt Dutch oven.
- Add the onion, celery and carrot and saute 10 minutes, or until onion starts to soften. Stir in the garlic.
- Add the ground beef/beef mince and break up into small chunks. Cook for 5 minutes until the beef starts to brown.
- Add the tomato paste and stir through.
- Deglaze the pan with the red wine. To deglaze, pour in the red wine and use your spoon to gently scrape at the bottom of your pan to release the flavours.
- Add the beef stock and tin tomatoes. Bring to the boil, and reduce heat to simmer for 40 minutes covered.
- Remove lid, and simmer for a further 30 minutes. The sauce should be thickened without being too dry or watery. You should see a small amount of liquid on top of the meat sauce.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan on a medium heat.
- Add flour and stir to form a doughy consistency. Add the seeded mustard, and fry the dough for two minutes.
- Very slowly, add the milk and use a whisk to gently whisk out the lumps.
- Continue to whisk the roux for 10-15 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken. There should be no lumps visible and the sauce should get nice and thick. Use a whisk to reduce lumps.
- Add the cheese and whisk a further 2 minutes until the cheese has melted.
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- In your dish, assemble the lasagne in the following order - meat, pasta and sauce.
- Make sure you finish with a white cheese sauce layer. Optional - sprinkle with a little more cheese.
- Cook in the oven for 45-60 minutes until the lasagne is browned on top and the pasta is cooked through. If you find it browning too much or burning, cover the lasagne with tin foil.
If you loved this recipe, I'd love for you to leave a comment and review! Also, don't forget to snap a pic of your finished recipe and share it on our on our Instagram account using the hashtag #thehomecookskitchen or tagging me @thehomecookskitchen. I'd love to see your creations!
Afraid you'll miss a post? Subscribe today and receive updates on new posts, and bonus recipes and information! Follow along on Instagram, Facebook for food inspo and adventures, or see what I'm loving on Pinterest!