Lasagne alla Bolognese, or Lasagna Bolognese Style

Lasagne alla Bolognese

Lasagne alla Bolognese

If you order lasagna in a restaurant in Tuscany or Emilia Romagna you will be served something along these lines.

Making lasagna completely from scratch is time consuming because you have to make the meat sauce. However, if you have about two cups of frozen sugo alla bolognese on hand, it only takes about an hour.

Starting from scratch, you will need:

  •     An 8 ounce (225 g) can minced plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound (225 g) ground beef
  • 2 ounces (60 g) prosciutto
  • 1 ounce (25 g) dried porcini (optional but a nice touch)
  • 1/2 an onion, minced
  • A small carrot, minced
  • A 6-inch (15 cm) stalk of celery, minced
  • A few leaves of basil (if it’s in season), and a small bunch of parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry red wine
  • 2 cups (100 g) grated Parmigiano
  • 2 cups (500 ml) milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste
  • A 1-pound (500 g) package of store-bought lasagna, either fresh or dried

If you are including the dried porcini, set them to steep in a half cup of boiling water.

To make the meat sauce, start by mincing the prosciutto, onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté the mixture in two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan till the onion’s translucent, then add the meat and continue cooking till it’s browned. Drain and chop the mushrooms, straining and reserving the liquid. Add the mushrooms, the parsley and basil, the salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg, and the red wine to the sugo, and simmer it over a low flame till the wine’s evaporated. Then thicken the sugo with a half tablespoon of flour stirred into the reserved mushroom liquid, let cook for a few minutes, and add the canned tomatoes. Check the seasoning and simmer the sugo over a low flame, for at least a half hour.

Make a béchamel sauce by melting the butter and adding the remaining flour, stirring to keep lumps from forming. Cook until the flour begins to brown, then add the milk, a few drops at a time, stirring briskly to keep lumps from forming. Should they form anyways, remove the pot from the flames and stir them out before adding more milk. Add a pinch of grated nutmeg (optional) and continue cooking over a low flame till the sauce thickens somewhat. Set it aside.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil, adding a tablespoon of oil to it to keep the sheets of pasta from sticking to each other. Butter an oven proof dish while the first few sheets of pasta are cooking. Remove the pasta with a slotted strainer when it’s a little bit al dente. Drain it well and add some more sheets to the water.

While the pasta is cooking, preheat your oven to 385 ºF (190 C).

Lay the first layer of pasta in the dish, following it with a layer of sugo, another layer of pasta, a layer of béchamel with cheese, and so on, till the pasta, sugo, and béchamel are used up. Go easy on the Parmigiano with the top layer, because it can become bitter as it browns. Heat the lasagne through in the oven (they should be lightly browned) and serve them with more grated Parmigiano on the side.

Serves four to six.

Making Lasagne alla Bolobnese, Illustrated

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Tags: , , ,

Categories: Baked Pasta, Holiday dishes

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.

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