A friend once said to me that he hardly ever cooks lasagne, (or lasagna if you want to use the USA spelling), as it is too much hassle for what you get as the end product. I couldn’t disagree more! But then that is probably because I have found such an easy way of getting a fantastic-every-time lasagne!
I saw the original version of this recipe in a magazine years ago, as an advertisement for Campbell’s Condensed Soup. I’ve had to adapt it slightly now I live in Australia as I can’t get the exact flavour soups that were used in the original recipe. I have also started using Gluten Free lasagne sheets, but only because I think they hold their texture better than others that I have tried.
Ingredients – serves 4-6:
- 500g/18oz minced (ground) beef, the lower fat content the better
- 1 jar (500g/18oz) tomato pasta sauce (I use Bertolli Portobello Mushroom & Garlic as it’s great!)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, diced, optional (you could also add a carrot or mushrooms depending on what you have available)
- dried mixed herbs, to season
- 1 can (420g/15oz) Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom soup
- 150ml/5 fl oz milk
- approx 5 dried lasagne sheets (ready to cook type)
- Grated cheese to top
- In a large saucepan heat some oil (olive or vegetable) and then add the onion. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the onion starts to soften.
- Add the minced beef to the pan. Stir until the beef is browned.
- Add the zucchini (or other vegetables) and a sprinkling of dried mixed herbs to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Then pour in your pasta sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat your oven to 200C/fan forced 180C/390F.
- Put the soup and the milk in a large jug, along with a sprinkling of your dried mixed herbs. Then whisk with a fork until combined.
- Get an ovenproof dish – the one I use is 30cm wide x 23cm x 6cm deep, (or 12in x 9in x 2.5in) – and sit it on a baking tray.
- Spread half the meat mixture across the bottom of the dish, then lay on enough lasagne sheets to roughly cover the meat. (Tip: You can break the lasagne sheets into smaller pieces to fill in any big gaps.)
- Carefully pour about half of your soup mixture over the top of the lasagne sheets, trying to make it as even as possible by gently spreading with the back of a spoon.
- Then use the remaining meat mixture to make another layer – the best way to do this is to spoon the mixture rather than trying to pour it.
- Place another layer of lasagne sheets, then finish with the remaining soup mix.
- Add cheese over the top.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, turning half way through this time. (Tip: the baking time will depend on the time needed to cook your lasagne sheets, so check the packaging. The lasagne sheets I use take 45 minutes because they are quite thick.)
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. This helps the lasagne settle and makes cutting it into portions much easier.