This nduja lasagne recipe combines nduja salami, beef mince, mascarpone, mozzarella and parmesan to create the ultimate indulgent taste sensation. It's not a quick dish to make but it tastes even better the next day and freezes well. Make this on a Sunday and reserve the leftovers for a speedy and delightful weeknight dinner.
This lasagne recipe was something of a happy accident. Back in the very early days of our relationship, my husband and I had agreed to make lasagne one night. Some miscommunication resulted in me turning up at his place with the ingredients for spicy sausage and kale lasagne when he had already bought the ingredients for a traditional lasagne. We decided to throw everything together and this super-duper spicy nduja, 3 cheese and kale lasagne recipe was born and christened Lord's Lasagne by my husband's housemate.
How to make the Nduja Lasagne:
1. Santé onions, garlic and nduja
Cook the onion on a medium/low heat until soft. Add the garlic and nduja and cook for a further 3 minutes.
2. Brown the beef mince
Add the beef mince and cook on a high heat until brown.
3. Cook the meat sauce
Stir in the chopped tomatoes and add the red wine, beef stock, fresh basil and dried oregano and simmer on a low heat for 50 minutes.
4. Make the mascarpone béchamel sauce
While the meat sauce is simmering away, cook the butter and flour on a medium heat until combined into a smooth paste to form a roux. Add the mascarpone cheese, half of the milk and 1 clove of peeled garlic. Stir until the sauce is smooth and starts to thicken then pour in the remaining milk little-by little. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg and set aside.
5. Prep the mozzarella, parmesan and kale
Cut the mozzarella into thin slices with a sharp knife and grate the parmesan. Remove the stalks from the kale and roughly chop.
6. Cook the kale
After the meat sauce has been cooking for around 50 minutes (and has significantly reduced) add the kale and cook for 5-10 minutes.
7. Assemble the lasagne
Layer 1: Add a third of the meat sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Layer 2: One-third of the béchamel sauce topped with a quarter of the mozzarella. Layer 3: Fresh lasagne sheets. Repeat this twice. Top with the remaining mozzarella and grated parmesan. Grind half a teaspoon of black pepper on top.
8. Cook the lasagne in the oven for 40 minutes
Leave it to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.
3 tips for a scrummy lasagne:
- Make it one day in advance - somehow all the amazing flavours of the lasagne intensify when left in the fridge. If you can cook and assemble the day before, do it!
- Leave it to rest - it's really tempting to tuck in as soon as the lasagne is out of the oven, but please try and refrain. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes to avoid sloppy soupy lasagne and scalding your mouth.
- Use fresh lasagne sheets - you don't have to boil them before assembling the lasagne and there's no risk they will still be hard after the lasagne has cooked in the oven.
Which cheeses are best for Nduja Lasagne?
There are 3 cheeses in the Nduja Lasagne; mascarpone for the sauce, mozzarella between the layers and parmesan for the topping. All of these cheeses play their part in making this lasagne absolutely scrummy. However, some can be substituted if you can't get hold of them or don't have them in stock. Ricotta can be used instead of mascarpone and the parmesan could be swapped for a sharp cheddar or other strong-ish hard cheese. Mozzarella is harder to substitute because it has a very specific texture - grated mozzarella will work well here if you don't have fresh buffalo mozzarella.
How to assemble lasagne
There are lots of opinions on this. I go filling, sauce, pasta because I find putting the filling straight onto the lasagne sheets makes it easier to spread. To assemble the lasagne spoon a layer of meat sauce into the bottom of the dish, then add a layer of white sauce and top with mozzarella. Add a layer of fresh lasagne sheets and repeat this process twice. Sprinkle grated parmesan and the remaining mozzarella on the top.
What to serve with Nduja Lasagne?
A green salad with a simple balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing is the perfect companion for this lasagne as it will cut through the rich flavours.
Which wines pair well with Nduja Lasagne?
The lasagne pairs well with young red wines like Chianti, Nebbiolo or Barbera.
Can any of the ingredients be substituted?
- Nduja - any type of spicy sausage or salami will work. I have made it with spicy salami and have also tried chorizo. These both worked well, but I settled for nduja because it blends well with the meat sauce and adds a rich heat to the dish.
- Cheeses - the Béchamel sauce can be made with ricotta, I used to do this before I discovered that mascarpone makes a smoother sauce. Parmesan can be swapped for cheddar or another strong hard cheese. It's harder to substitute the specific texture of mozzarella, but you can use grated mozzarella instead of fresh buffalo.
- Kale - I really like the texture that kale adds to Lord's Lasagne, but spinach would be a strong alternative.
How spicy is the lasagne?
A little, but spiciness is by no means the main player in this dish. The nduja brings some heat, but it's a warmth that blends with the other wonderful meaty, creamy and cheesy flavours the lasagne has to offer. If you're very sensitive to spice substitute nduja with another less spicy salami or sausage.
How long will lasagne keep in the fridge?
One of the best things about Lord's lasagne is that it tastes even better the next day. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, just ensure you cover it well to keep it fresh.
There are two options for re-heating:
1. Cover with foil (to ensure it doesn't dry out) and cook in the oven - it usually takes around 30 minutes to re-heat all the way through at 180°C or 300°F.
2. Pop in the microwave for a few minutes - cover with cling film to prevent it from drying out.
Re-heating in the oven is preferable if you have time, but if you don't, you won't lose much by using the microwave instead. We all have trying days that leave us desperately hungry and impatient and a microwaved Lords Lasagne that's ready in 5 minutes can make things so much sweeter.
Can you freeze Nduja Lasagne?
The lasagne freezes really well. If you are making it with the intention of freezing it I suggest assembling the lasagne into your required portion size (skip the cooking-in-the-oven stage) and freezing once cool. You can then either defrost and cook in the oven or cook from frozen.