The "American Lasagna", Done Sharing Recipe

The "Lasagna" is probably best described as the Western "Murtabak". The best resemblance comes from the fact that a Murtabak is rectangular shaped just like a Lasagna, prepared in layers (if you bought more than 1 piece of Murtabak, that is), and whose meat-filling is sweet (not sure if they are supposed to be sweet by default). One would find that a Murtabak is often accompanied by a dipping sauce in the form of a curry-like gravy or pinkish vinegar. As for a Lasagna, there is no such thing because everything is already packed inside.

So, how do we make lasagnas? The original lasagna (that we initially made) can be found on allrecipes.com. With time, we deviated slightly from the original recipe. Here's how.


   

Ingredients

For the meat sauce:
  • Minced Meat (Beef or Chicken) - 800g to 1kg
  • Yellow Onion - 2, diced
  • Garlic - 6 cloves, minced
  • Tomatoes - 4 big ones, diced
  • Carrots - 4, diced
  • Tomato Puree - 2 cans of 420ml
  • Dried Oregano leaves - 4 teaspoons
  • Dried Thyme leaves - 4 teaspoons
  • Dried Rosemary leaves - 4 teaspoons
  • Sugar - 4 tablespoons
  • Salt - 2 and a half teaspoons
For the béchamel sauce:
  • Full cream milk - 1 litre
  • Butter - 4 tablespoons
  • Flour - 4 tablespoons
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Black pepper - to taste
  • Salt - to taste
  • Cheese slice - 1, optional
Other items required:
  • Lasagna sheets - Roughly about 12 sheets
  • Mozzarella cheese - About 1.5kg
  • Cheddar cheese - To sprinkle on the top-most layer
  • Dried Parsley leaves - Optional, to garnish on top

How to Make

The meat sauce:
  1. In a pan, over medium heat, cook the minced meat. Ensure that the meat is not clumped.
  2. Once the meat is brown, put in the minced garlic and the yellow onion. Stir until the aroma comes forth.
  3. Put in the sugar, salt, oregano, thyme, and rosemary leaves. Stir well.
  4. Next, pour 1 can of tomato puree into the meat mixture along with the diced tomatoes. Stir well.
  5. Then, pour another can of tomato puree into the meat mixture along with the diced carrots. Stir well.
  6. Then, put on the pan's cover to let the meat mixture simmer for about an hour over low heat. Don't forget to stir occasionally; every 10 to 15 minutes. This helps to avoid the meat mixture from creating a burned crust at the bottom of the pan.
Next, prepare the béchamel sauce. We would personally advise you to begin this about 15 minutes before turning off the heat for the meat sauce. Here's how to make the béchamel sauce:
  1. Warm up the full cream milk either in a microwave or a separate pan. You don't need to heat it up until it's boiled - just warm it up, that's the idea.
  2. In a high-pot pan, heat up the butter so that it becomes liquid-like. Then, pour in the flour, little by little, and stir while doing so until it forms a roux. Don't wait too long for this, once you've gotten this form, immediately move on to the next step.
  3. Pour the warmed full cream milk into the pan, bit by bit, but not too slow in doing so. Stir well until a point where the mixture has no more clumps. Only a thick mixture. Put in 1 or 2 bay leaves and stir.
  4. Put in the ground black pepper and some salt if you wish. You may also add a cheese slice. Stir well. Then, turn off the heat.
Finally, to make the lasagna:
  1. Warm up the oven to 180 degrees Celcius for about 15 minutes.
  2. Get a casserole or deep pan bowl of some sort. If you're using an aluminum-based container, please layer it with a baking sheet.
  3. The idea behind a lasagna is that it is simply a layer of either meat sauce, cheese, lasagna sheet, or béchamel sauce. So, to start off, we always begin with a layer of meat sauce at the base. Spread the meat sauce evenly at the base of the container.
  4. Then, align the lasagna sheets side-by-side. If you're using an instant lasagna sheet, you do not need to immerse it in water first. Layer it directly but maintain a 1-inch distance space from the walls of the container. This is because, during the baking, the sheets absorb the water and expand.
  5. After layering the sheets, pour a layer of the béchamel sauce - not too thick and not too thin.
  6. Once the béchamel sauce layer is done, layer the mozzarella cheese on top of it.
  7. Once the cheese layering is done, spread a layer of the meat sauce.
  8. Then, repeat by layering the lasagna sheets again on top of the meat sauce.
  9. This is then followed by a layer of the béchamel sauce.
  10. Layer again with mozzarella cheese.
  11. Then, layer again with meat sauce.
  12. Finally, do another layer of lasagna sheets.
  13. This time, layer with meat sauce.
  14. Now, layer the top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkled some cheddar cheese if you like.
  15. Once you are done with the layering, cover up the casserole. You can use aluminum foil in this case, or the casserole's own cover, if it has any.
  16. Bake the lasagna while covered for about an hour. Bake for another 15 minutes or until it has browned slightly, uncovered.
  17. Once the baking is done, leave it to cool for about 10 minutes. Then, you may enjoy - bismillah!

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