Decadent Indulgence – Killer Lasagna
This lasagna recipe is probably the first recipe I’ve ever made from beginning to end. Because my mom is such a wonderful cook, I’ve grown up accustomed to delicious home-cooked meals and never thought about cooking for myself, that is, until I tasted my friend Yvette’s amazing lasagna during a potluck.
My mom is exceptional at cooking Chinese food, but she isn’t so keen on trying her hand at international cuisine, so, out of desperation, I used this recipe for my very first attempt at cooking. This is when I was back in high school, and when Backstreet Boys was all the rage (and we used to listen to songs on Discman – I know, it’s all so late 90s!).
I don’t want to brag, but I honestly believe that this is the best lasagna recipe I’ve tasted thus far (and I’ve eaten all over Rome). Maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough, but this high school recipe has been a classic in my kitchen ever since. On my trips back home to Vancouver, whenever we get the opportunity, Yvette and I (plus a few other close friends) still like to get together and cook up a storm.
I hope you enjoy this simple, no fuss recipe as much as my friends and I do.
What you’ll need (serves 4-6, depending on greediness):
- 300g ground beef
- 3 links of good quality sausage (I prefer garlic)
- 1 onion
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 10-12 button mushrooms
- 1 jar of pasta sauce
- 1 tbls dried oregano
- 1 tbls dried basil
- 1/2 tbls dried thyme
- 1 tbls sugar
- salt & pepper
- 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
- 400g shredded mozzarella
- 9-10 sheets of lasagna pasta
Now this sounds like a lot of ingredients, but a lot of these are probably already in your kitchen pantry.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Start by slicing the mushrooms, mincing the garlic and dicing the onion.
Dice up the sausage. I really insist on using good quality sausage for this, or else the lasagna might turn out tasting cheap and processed, simply because of the bad quality sausages.
Over medium heat, saute the diced onion and minced garlic in a bit of oil until the onion begin to colour (around 8 minutes).
Spoon out the onions to a separate bowl. Using the same pot, add a bit of oil and brown the ground beef. Once the beef is cooked, add in the sausage and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add mushrooms to the pot and cook for another minute.
Stir in the pre-cooked onions.
Add the entire jar of pasta sauce to the pot. I know purists probably will complain about not making the sauce from scratch, but who really has time to stew their own pasta sauce with Hong Kong’s busy schedules?
Let that all come to a bubble. Now it’s time to adjust the flavours, and this really depends on your own preferences. I like to add additional herbs, sugar to balance out the acidity, as well as a sprinkle of salt and pepper to make the sauce more vibrant.
Turn off the heat and you’re ready to rock ‘n’roll……actually, what I meant to say is that you’re ready to start layering.
Start by lining the base of your baking dish with sheets of pasta. You can either use instant pasta (which you don’t need to pre-boil) or boil the pasta sheets beforehand.
Ladle on your first layer of sauce.
For a quick way to fake bechamel sauce, I was cream of mushroom (out of a can). It’s an effortless way to make the pasta layers extra creamy. On top of the spoonfuls of mushroom cream I sprinkle on a generous layer of shredded mozzarella.
Continue layering until you come near the top of the pan. Ladle one more layer of sauce on top of your last layer of pasta and blanket with cheese.
Pop the pan in the middle rack of a preheated oven. The ingredients are all cooked, so you really need to only bake the dish until the cheese melts and turn a golden yellow.