I often get corrected on my spelling, but I make lasagne, not lasagna. I have nothing against lasagna, but I met lasagne first, so that's what I make.
Lasagna originates in Italy, and although the version most people outside of Italy is slightly different, it's based on a recipe of a tomato-based sauce, usually with meat, and a soft cheese, interlayered with sheets of pasta.
On its travels from Italy lasagna went through France, where a different way of doing it arose. It got a new spelling, courtesy of the French, and then it travelled onwards to Britain. And, the big flat sheets of pasta were sold there in the 1970s with the French recipe on the box. Which was where we met, you see. That's where/when I learned to cook.
When I make lasagne for my Canadian friends, they seem to really enjoy it, and some have copied it for variety. So here's what we do in this house:
First we make a meat and tomato sauce, adding any vegetables we happen to have. For example last night we used green peppers and mushrooms. Zucchini is very good in this, as is spinach, but frankly you can use anything.
What Tom did last night was typical:
Brown ground beef, pour off the fat, add diced onions and garlic, green pepper and mushroom, sauté until veggies are tender then add tomato sauce (plain or flavoured, whatever you like) along with some black pepper, and Italian herbs. As its April and I don't do dried basil we also added some pesto. You can add a glass of red wine at this point, if you like.
Then make a fairly thick béchamel and add a goodly amount of grated cheese. Last night we used all old cheddar, but you can use a blend, and do include some parmesan or romano (we were out).
Layer so that you end up with the cheese sauce on the top and bake until it looks like this
ALWAYS make more than you need because something magical happens to leftover lasagne. When reheated for lunch the next day it's not just better but ten times better.
Opinions of what salad to serve with lasagne vary, but I prefer to serve a garden salad with no dressing. Yes, you heard me, no dressing. Lasagne is so rich I like that freshness to counteract it.