I firmly believe that everyone should at least have one failproof, foolproof, “oh my god, that was so good!” kind of crowdpleaser recipe in their dinner party repertoire. It’s not really a secret that mine is lasagna – it’s tasty, it’s easy to make, and you can adapt the recipe to accommodate any and all dietary requirements. Plus, you can gently stir the (sauce) pot with one hand and hold a glass of red wine in the other, looking supremely glamorous (or so I like to think) while trying very hard not to get any red stains on your white shirt. What’s not to love?
If you’re a little bit of a control freak and not great under pressure, or struggle with cooking while also chit-chatting, you could even prepare the lasagna in advance and pop it in the oven as soon as your first guests start to trickle in (hey, we all have that one weird friend that shows up on time).
So in case you want to start hosting the world’s cosiest dinner parties, too, I made a step by step illustrated guide to a pasta that’s so good, your guests will actually be disappointed if you decide to branch out and experiment with other dishes.
While the omnitarian version of this has been extensively tried and tested, I’ve recently experimented with making it vegan (think dairy-free, beef-less mince), and it was so good I might just stick with it for the foreseeable future. Fake (cream) cheese melts just as nicely as the real deal if you buy the right type!
If you want, you can take this to the next level and roll your own lasagna sheets. Personally, I just don’t think I’m emotionally ready for that kind of commitment yet. But you might be.
The more veggies, the better – in my humble opinion, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus are all highly underrated lasagna ingredients. I love an underdog, especially in the vegetable kingdom.
Depending on how many people you’re cooking for, you might want to experiment with different pots and pans. I like to colour code my vegetables if I use two different frying pans, but that’s just me. If you’re using real beef, I’d recommend cooking the mince and mushrooms in one pot and everything else in the other, combining once cooked through.
I genuinely believe that the addition of cream cheese is what makes this recipe so good. That, and making sure you have more than enough tomato sauce at the ready. If you think you might run out, add some water to your jar and shake it so you have a thin but perfectly functional emergency reserve just in case.
Speaking of jars, one day I will leak my one weird trick to open jars without male assistance. But today is not that day. That said, slide into my DMs and I will happily reveal this age-old family secret in the name of feminism…
That’s it. You’re done! I usually serve this with a side of salad (spinach, tomato, sliced almonds, bell pepper, roasted sesame dressing) and my “socially acceptable music” Spotify playlist (a refined version of my favourites playlist that’s safe for public consumption).
I’d absolutely love to see your lasagna pictures if you end up following this recipe.
Finally, I leave you with two of my many colour-mixing sketch sheets and a first attempt at a lasagna illustration that looks more like a ham and cheese sandwich dripping in blood.