Lasagne have their origins in Ancient Rome. Romans knew the dish as ‘lasana’ or ‘lasanum’ (Latin for ‘container’, ‘pot’). However, this Roman version differs considerably from its modern version. This earlier incarnation was first detailed within a collection of Roman cookery recipes entitled De Re Coquinaria, believed to be one of the oldest of its kind in the Western world, written by a gentleman by the name of Apicius.
There is nothing more satisfying than digging into a piping hot, rich lasagne that you have truly made from scratch. Sheets and all! So to make things easy we've put together a straightforward guide on how to make your very own lasagne sheets. You'll be lathering them with béchamel and ragu alla bolognese in no time.
Fresh Lasagne Sheets Recipe
Serves: 2-3 people
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Calories per serving: 468 kcal
Step 1. Make your pasta dough
Making fresh pasta dough is extremely simple, all you need is eggs and flour! You can find our foolproof recipe for pasta dough within our Definitive Guide to Making Homemade Pasta.
Once you’ve made your dough follow our instructions below to craft your lasagne sheets.
Step 2. Roll out your pasta dough
As your lasagne sheets form the structure in lasagne, it is important to not roll the dough too thin. If you are using a pasta machine, roll the dough up to the 4th setting. If you are rolling by hand, aim for a thickness of about 2mm. Ultimately, you want a dough sheet that will survive being par-cooked and then layered.
Step 3. Cut the Lasagne Sheet
Now that you have your sfoglina – or rolled out pasta sheet – you are ready to make your fresh lasagne sheets. Keeping in mind the size of the pan you are planning on using to make your lasagne, cut the sfoglina into large rectangles. We recommend cutting such that four to six sheets will create one layer of your lasagne. Follow along as Chef Roberta makes fresh lasagne sheets in the video below.
Chefs tip: It's much easier to cut the lasagne into smaller sheets, rather than one large sheet because they need to be par-cooked before layering in the final lasagne. Cooking very large sheets of pasta can be quite tricky. Keeping the lasagne sheets to a reasonable size makes the process easier in the long run.
Step 4. Cook the Lasagne Sheets
Now that you have your lasagne sheets, you are ready to assemble your lasagne.
We recommend par-cooking the lasagne sheets before using in your lasagne. To do this, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water. Be sure to have a bowl of ice water ready on the side to stop the lasagne sheets cooking after you remove them from the water. Put the lasagne sheets in the boiling water for a couple of minutes. You don’t want to fully cook them as they will cook more when they go through the final stage in the oven. Carefully remove the lasagne sheets from the boiling water and transfer to the ice water to stop them cooking.
You can cook the lasagne in batches if needed. Once sheets have cooled, drain them and lay them out on a clean towel until you’re ready to assemble your lasagne.
Step 5. Choose your filling and cook
Now that you have your lasagne sheets all set to go, you just need to decide on what type of lasagne you want to make. Some of our favourites are a porcini and wild mushroom lasagne made with bechamel sauce and a beef shin ragu lasagne featuring a nice Parmigiano Reggiano crust.
Our favourite lasagne recipes
Porcini and Wild Mushroom Lasagne
The first record of lasagne dates back to Ancient Rome, but that primitive recipe is quite different from lasagne we know and love today: this initial recipe describes a flattened dough layered with cheese and spices and eaten using a pointed stick. In contrast to this primal-sounding dish, our sumptuous vegetarian lasagne layers earthy porcini and wild mushroom sauce between fresh sheets of pasta, and a healthy amount of Italian hard cheese.
Whilst this plant-based lasagne cannot be considered traditional, it certainly packs a lot of flavour, we would be surprised if your dinner guests could tell it was vegan! The robust and wintry flavour of the vegan kale pesto when combined with the creamy bechamel and a nutty hint of pine nuts is a sensory delight.
Pumpkin Lasagne with Sage Besciamella
In this recipe, we call for beautiful squash, treasured for its nutritional value and dense, sweet flesh. Whilst this recipe may call for in-season, British pumpkin, the recipe is emphatically Italian: alongside zucca we have a beautiful, sage-infused besciamella, layered into a rich, warming and vegetarian lasagne.
Our sumptuous ragu sees the wild boar slowly simmered in a traditional bath of red wine, fragrant juniper berries and tomato until rich and tender. We layer this meaty ragù between fresh lasagne sheets and creamy besciamella sauce, for a luxuriant and gamey twist on the classic Roman dish.
If you’re searching for inspiration, this is our porcini and wild mushroom lasagne with decadent bechamel.
Be sure to share your lasagne creation with us, tagging #pastaevangelists on Instagram.