Back when I was in university, I used to waitress in a Japanese restaurant to support myself and on a very rare occasion, one of the restaurant managers would make lasagna when he feels likes it. It was the best lasagna I have ever eaten hands down, better than any restaurants. I actually popped over his place one Christmas because he was making it so I could learn but back then, I have never cooked much so everything seems pretty foreign to me. I never wrote anything down but just watch. His secret is using 2 different cheese and adding a lot of heat. I love the heat but am quite lazy to buy and have 2 kind of cheese on hand.
He soon left the restaurant and never really got in touch with him much but I remembered vaguely about that cooking lesson so I tried to replicated it. It’s not as good but I love it and it’s with no cheese layer so it’s not heavy and super filling like most lasagnas.
I know my layers are not perfect but I manage to dish this out with the layers intact and the cheese layer just so charred. You wanna know the secret? it’s TIME – you need to let it cool and sit after you remove from the oven before you start slicing it!
To quote Alton Brown again, often people don’t regard time as an ingredient.
So patience, my dear one.
All Meat Lasagna
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins – 1 hr
Yield : 1 loaf pan = 3 servings
- 1 pack (750g/1lb) of Italian sausage
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 5 white button mushroom, sliced
- 1 Jar (700ml) of pasta sauce
- Black Pepper, to taste
- Oregano, to taste
- Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
- Thyme, to taste
- Basil, to taste
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 6 Lasagna noodles
- Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Place pan over high heat and add some olive oil
- Add Italian sausage and fry them till brown. Try to break the pieces as small as you can. Set aside on a paper-towel lined plate.
- Lower heat to medium high and add some olive oil.
- Add diced onions and fry till translucent but not burnt
- Add red bell pepper and mushroom and stir fry for 2-3 mins
- Add cooked Italian sausage then pasta sauce
- Add black pepper,oregano,crushed red pepper,thyme,basil and bay leaf.
- Give everything a good mix and cover. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer while you prep other stuff.
- Bring a kettle of water to boil. Place lasagna noodles in a deep baking tray and add hot water till it covers the noodles.
- Let it steep for 5-10 mins until noodles are soft but not cooked through.
- Heat your oven to 350F
- Remove the bay leaf before assembly
- Spray a loaf pan with vegetable spray.
- Remove lasagna noodles from the water and pat dry with towel.
- Trim the noodles by cutting off any excess length.
- Layer as follows:
- Meat sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Meat sauce
- Mozzarella cheese …
- You should have to layer the noodle 3 times and the very top layer should be cheese.
- Cover the loaf pan with foil
- Pop it in the oven, centre rack for 20 mins
- Remove the foil and adjust the oven rack to the second highest level
- Broil the lasagna until the cheese is browned and slightly charred
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it cook for 10 mins
- Slice a desired size and serve immediately.
Note: You can do all the assembly the day before and keep it in the fridge. Allow the lasagna to come to room temperature before popping it into the oven or cook at 425F for 20mins straight for the fridge. Also, using fresh mushrooms will create some water in the lasagna but I prefer it that way so it will not be overdry. If you wish, use canned button mushroom instead so there will be less water.