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Lasagne Bolognese

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Joined: Feb 5, 2007


Posted to Thread #29155 at 1:41 pm on Nov 10, 2016

Lasagne Bolognese--and a toast at the end :)

The magic in this dish is the nearly one quart of besciamella (nutmeg spiced white sauce) that is not only the topping for the lasagna, but the moisture absorbed into each layer of fresh (make your own or purchase) lasagna noodles. There is no ricotta, only a sprinkling of parmesan on each layer which infuses the pie with a nutty pungence. Delicately thin fresh pasta of your own making should may result in five to seven layers, but if you use storebought (as I went out for yesterday afternoon, the extra hour on my feet to make my own would have killed me) your noodles might be a tad thicker and restrict you to five layers in a 2" deep pan. Your pan should be approximately 9 x 12 or 13, and the finished pie will serve 6 - 8 (the piece shown above was 1/6th).

For the meat sauce/filling:

EVOO and butter
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
five cloves garlic, minced
About 3 ounces pancetta
1 lb ground veal
1 lb ground pork
3 ounces (half a typical can) of tomato paste
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dry white wine
3 basil leaves, finely chopped, or 2 pinches dried
salt and pepper to taste

For the besciamella:

5 tblsp butter
3 tblsp flour
3 cups whole milk
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg


1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
2 tblsp olive oil

First, make the meat filling. Put enough butter and olive oil in a 6-8 quart pot (Dutch oven is perfect) to sweat the vegetables until tender, about ten minutes. Then add the ground meats and pancetta and cook until the meat cooks through and begins to crumble. Break up any lumps and add the milk, wine, basil, pepper and tomato paste. Simmer for at least one hour, then salt to taste and allow the sauce to reduce if neccessary, uncovered, to make a thick, but not dry, sauce.

While the meat filling is cooking, prepare the besciamella per classic white sauce methods: make the roux (melt the butter, add flour), let it cook for a few minutes, then add hot milk (scald it first and it won't form so much skin), nutmeg and salt. Simmer on low heat for about ten minutes to completely cook the flour, then set aside.

Blanch the pasta: bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tblsp of vegetable oil to help prevent sticking (purists will tell you that this is an unneccessary step if you don't crowd the pot, but I've always found it useful). Drop in a few leaves of pasta at a time and fish them out in a minute or less, laying out on towels to drain and dry.

A note about pasta quantity: My pasta sheets were longer than my pan but half a sheet was about the width, so I cut the sheets in half and planned to use three overlapping pieces per layer. I ended up with four layers needing 12 pieces.

Assemble the lasagna: put a ladle full of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan with 2 tblsp EVOO and about two tblsp of parmesan. Top with the first layer of pasta, then cover the pasta with a ladle (about half a cup) of the white sauce. (You basically need to reserve one cup of white sauce for the topping and divide the remainder among the number of layers you expect to make.) Now top the white sauce with the meat filling: if you're making five layers of pasta, then distribute one fourth of the sauce now), and two more tablespoons of the parmigiano. Repeat, topping the last layer of pasta with the final cup of the besciamella and the remaining parmesan. If you like (I liked), sprinkle more basil on top and black pepper.

Bake lasagna uncovered at 350 until golden and bubbling, about 45 minutes if you bake it immediately after assembly when the ingredients are room temperature or warm. It will take more time if the lasagna is chilled before baking. Allow the pie to rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.

We enjoyed this with a 99 Monti Barbera from Italy

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