Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lasagna Bolognese

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator when reheating lasagna that's been frozen.

butter, for the pan
1/2 batch Bolognese sauce
1 1/2 (9-ounce) boxes no-boil lasagna noodles
3/4 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
extra virgin olive oil

* * * * *

Ingredients for the Bolognese sauce:
5 T olive oil
1 red onion, medium chop
3 carrots, medium chop
3 celery stalks, medium chop
5 ounces pancetta, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 handfuls fresh flatleaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
1 cup red wine
3 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk

* * * * * *

Ingredients for the beschemel:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 1/2 cups whole milk
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the Bolognese sauce:
Saute the onion, carrots, and celery in about 5 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan until soft. Add the pancetta and cook on a medium-high flame for about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the meat, breaking it up well with a wooden spoon. Increase heat and keep stirring until all the ground meat is browned. Add the red pepper flakes and the parsley and cook for just 1 minute.

Add the wine and cook until the alcohol is completely evaporated, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Pulse the tomatoes smooth in a food processor and add them to the meat, season generously with salt and pepper, lower the flame to medium and cook for about 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Finish the sauce by adding the whole milk, stir well and set aside, to cool.

* * * * *

Preparing the beschamel:
In a saucepan, warm the milk.

In another pan, melt the 1/2 cup butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, slowly toasting the flour without burning it.

Gradually ladle the warmed milk into the pot with the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly while bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Season the sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

If the sauce is too thick, add a little more milk; if too thin, return to the heat and add a pat of butter mixed with an equal amount of all purpose flour. If the sauce tastes of raw flour, cook for a few minutes more.

* * * * *

Preparing the lasagna:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Butter the lasagna pan well and add a very thin layer of meat sauce.

Add the first layer of lasagna noodles and in order, cover with meat sauce, about 3 ladles beschamel, and a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Repeat the same process until you reach the top of the dish. Make sure the no-cook lasagna noodles are covered, soaking into the sauce.

When done layering the ingredients, top the lasagna with a final ladle of meat sauce and some beschamel, add a few thin slices of butter and finish with some grated parmesan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until done, and then place the lasagna under a broiler for about 5 minutes for a crisp crust.

Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some grated parmesan, to taste.

Serves 8


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