Lasagne like the Italians make

Authentic Italian Lasagne Recipe

I see traditional beef lasagne on lots of menus and in supermarkets, and I know it's popular but here's the thing.... The lasagne you know is not the lasagne I know. I come from a large Italian community and though everybody has their own special twist there is one thing they all have in common... no white sauce on top. Maybe it's because most of our families are from the South of Italy and this makes a difference? In any case I've tried both and this is by far the best home cooked version I've ever had. It is definitely has a depth of flavour that is always a winner. So of you want learn how to make lasagne like the Italians really do then have a go at this!

Cooking notes:

Serves 8...depending on how hungry you are! The portion shown is one eighth of what I made if that helps.

I use two disposable trays .... washing up baked on lasagne is never easy. This also gives the option of freezing one for another time if you only need enough for four people. Before you fill them put them on baking trays. They'll be really wobbly otherwise!

And I also have a really big Italian mamma sized saucepan that I use for sauce. It's going to cook for a while and having a lid is really helpful too.

I find that the longer the sauce has for the flavours to come together, the better the flavour. For best results I make this the day before and assemble the lasagne on the day.

I've put a * next to two of the ingredients... these aren't necessarily traditional but do make it really nice. If you want to leave these out that's fine... you'll still need some grated parmesan though.

Variations.... every Italian has their own special recipe. Mine uses the cream and extra cheese. My nonna adds sliced hardboiled eggs to her layers, and other Italians I know add sliced ham, or even use mini veal meatballs instead of beef mince. It goes to show there is no 'right' recipe... only how you like it!


500g beef mince
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 x 400g jars Passata
1 small jar tomato paste
1 box dried lasagne sheets
400g block mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced, grated or cubed
100ml single cream *
Fresh basil - a handful torn by hand
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
100g Parmesan cheese, grated *
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Pour in a good tablespoon of oil into the mamma pan, and crush the garlic in. Then turn on the heat so that it gently warms through but doesn't burn.
2. Stir in the beef mince, then turn up the heat a little as it browns, but so that the garlic doesn't burn.
3. Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Rinse out one of the jars with about 100ml of water and swish this in. Give everything a good stir and bring to the boil. Then simmer on a low heat for at least two hours.... the longer you leave it the better the sauce will be. My mum normally has her sauce simmering for a whole day... but she also adds more than 100ml of water.

Authentic Italian Lasagne Sauce

You should end up with a thick and rich sauce. If you want to make the deluxe version stir in the cream and half the parmesan cheese now.
4. Leave the sauce to cool completely. If you add the lasagne sheets now they will crack, which is fine but a pain.
5. Begin layering. Firstly ladle some sauce into the base of your tine. This is really important as it stops the pasta from sticking to the bottom. Arrange the lasagne sheets over the top, then ladle a layer of sauce over the top of these. Follow with mozzarella, a sprinkle of parmesan and even some basil leaves if you like.

Authentic Italian Lasagne Recipe

6. Continue layering until you have run out of pasta and sauce. The top layer should be sauce and cheese.
7. Cover loosely with foil and bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes. If you cut into the middle the pasta should be cooked and everything piping hot.
8. Remove and cut into portions. Use a large fish slice or spatula to remove each portion (scoop into the side of the tray to keep the pieces intact).
9. Serve with grated parmesan and a simple green salad.

Authentic Italian Lasagne Recipe

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