When it comes to Italian cuisine and, specifically, Italian pastas, there’s really only one dish that unlocks the superstar level of mononymous fame wherever it graces a menu in the United States: lasagna.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 pounds 80% lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
2 (28-oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes, puréed
1 tablespoon sugar, more if you like a sweeter sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup flour
2 cups milk
3 cups ricotta cheese
2 1⁄2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 pound dry lasagna sheets
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the beef and pork and cook until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook 2 minutes longer. Add the tomatoes and sugar, and simmer until thick, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the flour and cook 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring constantly until béchamel thickens, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly, then combine with the ricotta, half the mozzarella, salt, and pepper.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add lasagna sheets and cook, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to each other, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and lie flat in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, separated by parchment or wax paper.
- Heat oven to 375°. Drizzle some oil in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Lay three sheets of lasagna on the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon 1 cup of béchamel over pasta and 2 cups of meat sauce, spreading in an even layer with a small offset spatula. Top with 3 more sheets of pasta and repeat the layering with bechamel and meat sauce. Once you get to the final layer, top with remaining 1 cup of meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. Shake on the parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
- Uncover and change oven to broil. Cook lasagna until bubbling and top is browned and crisp around the edges, about another 5 minutes, and remove from oven. Let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes before serving.