How to make next level lasagne

Take this make-ahead comfort food classic to new heights with a few special ingredients and tricks, then serve up the ultimate crowd-pleasing pasta bake.

Next level lasagne with yellow title

Lasagne has suffered as a result of the ready-meal revolution and is too often viewed as a microwaveable, cheap and sloppy midweek supper. Made properly, with good ingredients and a little kitchen patience, it becomes the ultimate comfort food crowd-pleaser. 

We’ve taken inspiration from classic lasagne recipes and added a few touches to boost the luxe factor, enhance the flavour and add extra texture, creating a next level lasagne that will take pride of place as a special dinner for friends. 


10 tips for the perfect lasagne

1.    Up the texture with chunky meat
2.    Add pancetta or bacon
3.    Squeeze in some ketchup
4.    Don't be shy with the wine
5.    Try a wild mushroom white sauce for added luxury
6.    Use three types of cheese
7.    Choose egg pasta sheets
8.    Stop the slop (add less sauce)
9.    Top with extra crunchy bits
10.  Serve warm, rather than hot
 

1. Up the texture with chunky meat

Chopped up meat and loin of beef

Lasagne has evolved into a mince-based dish, but it can also be made using shredded, slow-cooked meat. Try stewing small chunks of meat that don't need shredding but do add texture to your dish. 


2. Add pancetta or bacon

A bowl of pancetta

Gve the meat sauce extra depth by adding smoked pancetta or bacon to the base. The flavour brings a background smokiness, which is enriched by the rendered fat. 


3. Squeeze in some ketchup

Pot of tomato sauce

Rather than adding tomato purée for base flavour, sugar for sweetness and vinegar for acidity, opt for a splash of ketchup. It delivers all those attributes in one easy squeeze. 


4. Don't be shy with the wine

Bottle of red wine being poured into glass

To give the sauce a big, boozy flavour, be generous with the red wine. Any cheap, full-bodied red will be fine to cook with, but if you want to keep it authentic, look for something Italian. 


5. Try a wild mushroom white sauce for added luxury

Wild dried mushrooms

Mushrooms and beef go really well together, so why not turn the white sauce into a wild mushroom sauce? For lots of flavour, infuse the mushrooms in milk first. 


6. Use three types of cheese

Mozzarella, Parmesan and mascarpone cheese on separate plates

Opt for a triple whammy of cheese. We like to add three types of Italian cheese for their different characteristics: parmesan adds flavour, mascarpone enrichens the sauce and makes it extra creamy, and chunks of mozzarella are great for melting. 


7. Choose egg pasta sheets

Edges of dried lasagne sheets

Dried pasta is a must and there's no need to pre-cook it – but not all dried lasagne sheets are equal. Look for egg lasagne sheets – they're richer and silkier than plain lasagne sheets, which are made with just flour and water. 


8. Stop the slop (add less sauce)

Pan of meat being stirred with wooden spoon

Lasagne is a pasta bake that you should be able to portion into squares. It shouldn't be pasta swimming in sauce. Our next level lasagne recipe has perfectly balanced quantities, delivering a lasagne that has defined layers but isn’t dry. 


9. Top with extra crunchy bits

Parmesan pieces on a plate

The slightly burnt, crunchy edges are the best bits of a lasagne. Ensure there are plenty of crisp bits to go around by sprinkling over toasted grated parmesan before serving.  


10. Serve warm, rather than hot

Lasagne in a square dish with crunchy parmesan pieces on the side

There's nothing to be achieved from serving your lasagne straight from the oven, other than a burnt mouth. Leave the dish to relax for a good 10-20 mins until it can be eaten with ease. The flavours will be more pronounced, too. 

See the full recipe for our next level lasagne.

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Which ingredients do you like to layer up in your lasagne? Leave a comment below...

 

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