To be completely honest, I have never been the biggest fan of lasagna. It looked messy, cheesy and was always too much pasta for me to handle. After I saw a braised beef lasagna on a Food Network show, I had to give it a try. It was one of the best lasagnas I have had and honestly not too difficult to make.
What type of meat to use?
For this lasagna recipe, we are using beef chuck or any other type of braising beef. I wanted to do something different from the traditional ground beef version and this tasted amazing. Some other great cuts of meat to use are short ribs, or brisket.
Making braised beef lasagna meat sauce
The meat sauce is comprised of two things, the meat, and vegetables. The vegetables will be blended up and this will become our “marinara sauce”. The vegetables used are tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, and garlic.
Once the meat has been braised until tender, first remove and let it cool down to room temperature. This will make it easier to shred later on.
There will be remaining vegetables (carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes, garlic) and you want to remove them using a strainer so that we can blend it. This blend of vegetables will become our marinara sauce which you will want to season with some salt and sugar to your desired taste. If the vegetables are not blending smooth, add a couple tablespoons of the stock to loosen it. Make sure not to add too much, otherwise, the sauce will become too watery.
Layering braised beef lasagna
There are 4 main layers to this lasagna: Meat sauce, ricotta, lasagna sheets, and provolone cheese. Optionally, you can add another layer of just marinara sauce. The order I like to layer goes: meat sauce, lasagna sheets, ricotta, meat sauce, provolone cheese, then lasagna sheets. Ricotta always comes after the lasagna sheets and I always end on a layer of provolone before baking in the oven.
How to prepare lasagna noodles
To prepare the lasagna noodles, you will want to cook them in boiling water until el dente. I like them on the firmer side, because the moisture from the ricotta and beef sauce will continue to cook the pasta in the oven.
Braised Beef Lasagna
- 9x7x3 inch baking dish
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 1.5 lbs beef chuck
- 2 large carrots
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 3 stalks celery
- 8 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 cans whole tomatoes (28oz per can)
- 1-2 cups beef stock
- 2 tubs ricotta cheese (475g per tub)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 10 slices provolone cheese
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- Prepare vegetables by smashing garlic, cutting onions, carrots, and celery into 1 inch pieces.2 large carrots, 2 medium yellow onions, 3 stalks celery, 8 cloves garlic
- Season chuck roast with 2 tbsp of salt. Sear over high heat for 2 minutes on each side then set to the side.1.5 lbs beef chuck
- In a pressure cooker, sauté the vegetables with tomato paste for 1 minute.2 large carrots, 2 medium yellow onions, 3 stalks celery, ¼ cup tomato paste, 8 cloves garlic
- Add canned tomatoes, the seared beef, and beef stock. ONLY add enough beef stock needed to cover half of the beef.2 cans whole tomatoes, 1-2 cups beef stock, 1.5 lbs beef chuck
- Pressure cook for 45 minutes or until beef is tender. If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook in a Dutch oven and place in the oven for 2.5 hours at 350F.
- Remove the tender beef and shred with your hands once cooled.
- Strain out the remaining vegetables and blend until smooth and looks like a puree.
- Season the vegetable puree with salt and sugar to taste (about 1 tbsp of each) and set aside 1 cup of the vegetable puree for serving as a sauce.
- Add the rest of the vegetable puree into the shredded beef and mix. This is the beef sauce.
- In a bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, salt, pepper, and parsley. Mix until smooth then set aside for assembly.2 tubs ricotta cheese, 2 large eggs, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp black pepper, 1 cup chopped parsley
- Soften the lasagna noodles until el dente. I boiled them for 8 minutes and removed.12 lasagna noodles
- Now we can assemble. How you want to layer is entirely up to you, but this is what I did: beef sauce, lasagna, ricotta, beef sauce, provolone cheese, and lasagna. Repeat this order until your container is full. And always end with provolone at the top.
- Cover with tin foil and bake at 400F for 45 min to 1 hour.
- To plate, I like to cut out a slice of the lasagna, add more provolone, then back into the oven to broil and melt the cheese.10 slices provolone cheese
- Top with our reserved vegetable puree, chopped parsley, and parmesan cheese.1 cup chopped parsley
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