Lasagna, or "lasagne", is a type of pasta served in sheets. The term "beef lasagna" refers to a dish layered with pasta sheets and beef (either pork or beef), accompanied by a sauce named bechamel. This lasagna can also be made with vegetables.
When making our beef lasagna, it's topped with bechamel sauce and plenty of grated cheese or parmesan to then bake in the oven. Originating in Italy, it can be served as an appetizer or main course, is served hot, and is typically enjoyed during winter or cold periods.
Like any recipe, its preparation and ingredients vary by region or the person preparing it. Some like to prepare it with both bechamel and bolognese sauce, while others opt for one. As you know, it all depends on personal preferences.
I remember trying this beef lasagna as a child and really liking it. Once I learned to cook and delved into the culinary world, mastering beef lasagna became one of my goals. And so, I found the recipe and learned to make it.
I must admit, I personally don't enjoy lasagnas from some restaurants. Often, in the rush to prepare it for sale or not dedicating the needed time, it doesn't come out right nor taste as it should. That's why, when I crave it, I prefer making it at home, just the way I like it and how it should be.
What's the best way to prepare the sofrito for this beef lasagna?
For this recipe, the sofrito is essential to give the lasagna a deep and rich flavor. Start by blending an onion, bell pepper, garlic, and tomato paste. This mix will become the base for your sofrito. In a hot skillet with oil, brown the seasoned ground beef and add the blended mix along with bay leaves, thyme, and oregano. Cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat until the sauce thickens.
How to make the bechamel sauce smooth and creamy?
The secret to a good bechamel lies in the constant stirring and care. Boil the milk with ½ cup of water (you can replace water with chicken broth), another onion, butter, salt, and pepper. Once boiling, dissolve wheat flour in a bit of cold milk or water and add it to the mix, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Keep stirring until it thickens.
How should I layer the lasagna for the best results?
Layering is straightforward but requires a certain order for a consistent flavor profile. First, spread a bit of the bolognese sauce with meat at the base of your dish. Add a layer of lasagna pasta, more bolognese, some bechamel sauce, and cheese slices. Alternate layers until you have three. Finish with a pasta layer, cover generously with bechamel, and sprinkle parmesan on top.
At what temperature and how long should I cook it?
Bake the lasagna at 355°F (180°C) for 30 minutes. This allows all the flavors to meld, and the cheese to melt, giving your lasagna that golden, appetizing look.
What other Colombian recipes might interest me?
Empanada Paisa also uses ground beef and onions, alongside other traditional Colombian ingredients. This dish, a type of meat pie, is common in Colombia and offers a flavor profile reminiscent of beef lasagna. If you enjoy the mozzarella and parmesan in this lasagna, you'll definitely love Cheese Arepas, a classic Colombian recipe highlighting these cheeses.
Tip: While recipes might differ, shared ingredients can provide a familiar palate sensation while allowing you to explore new dishes.
Common Mistake: When exploring new recipes, it's easy to get stuck following it exactly without adjusting to personal tastes. Don't be afraid to experiment a bit and add your personal touch.
This Colombian beef lasagna recipe is rich, flavorful, and certainly worth the time it takes to prepare. Pay attention to details, like the slow and careful cooking of the sofrito and the creaminess of the bechamel, and you'll surely love the outcome. And if you're feeling adventurous, try the empanadas paisas and cheese arepas to continue exploring Colombian cuisine. Enjoy!
I hope you're encouraged to try it and cook along with us. Happy cooking!
- 2 lbs 900g of ground beef.
- 2 onions.
- 1 small red bell pepper.
- 3 tablespoons of tomato paste.
- 2 garlic cloves.
- Oregano (thyme, and bay leaves.)
- 1 lb of mozzarella cheese.
- 1 box of pre-cooked lasagna pasta.
- ½ cup of parmesan cheese.
- 1 cup of milk.
- 1 tablespoon of wheat flour.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Blend one onion, bell pepper, garlic, and tomato paste.
- Season the ground beef and in a hot skillet with oil, brown the meat.
- Once browned, add the blended mix, and also add some bay leaves, a pinch of thyme, and oregano.
- When it starts to boil, reduce to medium heat and cook for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Set aside.
- Separately, make the bechamel sauce. Boil the milk with ½ cup of water (or chicken broth), the other onion, butter, salt, and pepper. When boiling, dissolve the wheat flour in a bit of cold milk or water and add to the mix, stirring continuously to prevent lumps. Keep stirring until it thickens.
- To assemble the lasagna, in an ovenproof dish, spread a bit of the bolognese sauce at the base; place a layer of lasagna pasta, then more bolognese, some bechamel, and cheese slices. Add another pasta layer and repeat until you have three layers.
- Finish with a lasagna pasta layer and cover generously with bechamel. Sprinkle parmesan on top and bake at 355°F (180°C) for 30 minutes.