The only way my favorite comfort food recipe could be any better is cooked over a campfire. This saucy, meaty, and cheesy lasagna is easy to prepare, transport, assemble and even cook.
Technique tip: Line the Dutch oven with parchment paper to make clean up easy and quick. You can prepare the sauces ahead of time at home, then place them in zip top plastic bags in a cooler for easy transport.
Swap option: Substitute a jarred marinara sauce for meat sauce.
- 4 pounds ground chuck
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 4 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cups beef broth
- One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 ounces (1 cup) salted butter
- 1 cup (about 4 ¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 6 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- Two 9-ounce packages no-boil lasagna noodles
- 48 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (about 12 cups)
- Fresh herbs (such as thyme, basil and flat-leaf parsley)
For the meat sauce:
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half of the ground chuck to Dutch oven; cook, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the beef from the Dutch oven, and drain well. Repeat the procedure with the remaining half of the beef.
Add the onion, celery and garlic to the Dutch oven. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, sugar, basil, salt, pepper and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 1 hour. Remove and discard bay leaves.
For the béchamel sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Whisk in the flour, and cook, whisking often, until mixture begins to darken slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the milk, salt, nutmeg and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium, and cook, whisking often, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf.
For the lasagna:
Spoon 2 cups of the meat sauce in bottom of cast iron skillet. Top with 4 lasagna noodles, breaking noodles to fit. Top with 2 more cups meat sauce, 1 cup béchamel sauce and 2 cups mozzarella. Repeat the layers twice, beginning with noodles and ending with the mozzarella. Make sure on last layer that noodles are completely and thickly covered with sauce otherwise noodles won't completely cook.
Place lid on top of the Dutch oven and place on the campfire. Take at least 6 burning coals and place on top of the Dutch oven lid. Cook for about 60 minutes until cheese is melted and noodles are cooked this all depends on how hot your fire is.