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Alessio’s Crespelle alla Fiorentina, An Illustrated Baked Pasta Recipe

Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Enjoy!

Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Enjoy!

Crespella is the Italian word for crepe, and they go back a very long ways. They also look beautiful, and are quite easy to make – once you have the hang of it – and are therefore the sort of thing that people will think you have gone to great deal more effort to make than you have. In short, the perfect beginning to a Sunday dinner or holiday meal, or something to serve company. Don’t let the length of the ingredients list scare you. Alessio Pesucci figures the below will serve 10, though you may find hearty eaters wanting seconds:

To Make 10 Crepes:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) white flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) clarified butter (one could use regular butter if need be)
  • 3/5 cup (140 ml) milk, warmed to 100 F (40 C)
  • A pinch of salt
  • More clarified butter to grease the pan

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds (650 g) ricotta, ideally sheep’s milk, well drained
  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.2 k) well-washed spinach
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (30 g) freshly grated Parmigiano
  • A pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • A pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Béchamel Sauce:

  • 1 quart (1 liter) whole milk
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (50 g) flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch freshly ground nutmeg

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 2/3 pounds (750 g) ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • A small onion, minced
  • Minced celery equivalent to half the volume of the onion
  • Minced carrot equivalent to a third the volume of the onion
  • 6-7 fresh basil leaves, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

To Assemble It:

  • 10 portion-size oven dishes
  • 1 1/3 cups (75 g) freshly grated Parmigiano
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Flipping a Crespella

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Flipping a Crespella

We’ll begin by preparing the crepes:
Whisk the eggs until they are yellow, adding a pinch of salt. Next, whisk some of the flour into the eggs (don’t worry about lumps at this stage), followed by some of the milk, more flour, and more milk until all is added; whisk until the batter is smooth and runs in a thin stream from the back of a spoon. From start to finish, mixing the batter will take about 3 minutes.

Heat a 12-inch diameter (30 cm) high-sided skillet with a non-stick surface over a fairly brisk flame until it is hot — a drop of water should dance upon it. Lightly grease it, remove it from the burner, and pour a small ladle of batter (a bit more than 1/4 cup) into it at a slant, turning the pan so the batter coats the bottom of the pan.

Return the pan to the burner and cook until the crepe firms up. Use a wooden spatula to loosen the crepe, and flip it to cook the other side.

In all, the cooking time will be about 2 minutes, and with a little practice you can learn to flip the crepes with a flick of the wrist after loosening them: Hold the pan at a slant, dip it (moving the pan forward and down), and then pull back with a deft upwards flick: the crepe will rise up and flip over.

Prrof? I watched Alessio prepare these for a cooking lesson, and though some of the students had their doubts about flipping crepes with a flick of the wrist, everyone did it. So it’s not difficult.

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: The Filling

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: The Filling

And next, the filling:
Wash the spinach well, and put it in a pot with the water that adheres to the leaves. Bring it to a boil and cook it for 2 minutes, by which time it will have wilted completely. Remove it from the pot, and as soon as it has cooled to the point that you can handle it, chop it finely.

Alessio prefers sheep’s milk ricotta because cow’s milk ricotta has a floury texture, but cow’s milk is what you have it will work well too.

Put the chopped spinach in a large bowl and mix the ricotta into it, together with the eggs, Parmigiano, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Continue mixing until the filling is creamy and homogeneous.

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Spreading the Filling

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Spreading the Filling

As you make the crepes, lay them flat on your work surface. When you have finished making crepes (you should have about 10), put a dollop of stuffing on each and spread it out to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch (3 mm) or so.

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Rolling Them Up

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Rolling Them Up

Fold the left and right sides of the crespelle in to help keep the stuffing in place, and roll the crespelle up.

Put the crespelle in a pan for now, and see to making the béchamel sauce and the tomato sauce.

First, the tomato sauce:
Blanch, peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes. Chop the onion, carrot, and celery too. Heat the olive oil in a pot and add the chopped herbs and salt. Cook until the onion is translucent, add the tomatoes, and simmer. Add the shredded basil shortly before assembling everything.

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Putting Bechamel Sauce in the Pans

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Putting Bechamel Sauce in the Pans

Next, see to the Bechamel sauce:
Make a roux with butter and the flour, heating it until it is tan. Let it cool some while bringing the milk to a boil. Stir the hot milk into the flour mixture — the temperature difference will keep lumps from forming — and season the mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Simmer the béchamel sauce for 5 minutes, and then remove it from the fire. Stir in the cream, which contributes to the sauce’s texture, and spread a spoonful of béchamel over the bottom of each of the oven dishes.

Cut the crepes at a slant into sections about an inch and a half (3.5 cm) across, and divvy them evenly among the oven dishes. While you are doing this, preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Saucing Sliced Crepelle with Tomato Sauce

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Saucing Sliced Crepelle with Tomato Sauce

Sprinkle tomato sauce over the crepe sections, and spoon the remaining béchamel sauce over the tomato-coated crepes — it will keep the tomatoes from burning.

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: More White Sauce

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: More White Sauce

Dot the crepes with the remaining butter and sprinkle the grated cheese over them.

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Grated Cheese...

Making Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Grated Cheese…

Dot the crepes with the remaining butter and sprinkle the grated cheese over them.

Bake the crespelle for 10-12 minutes, and serve them at once with an elegant white wine. I would be tempted by a good Vernaccia di San Gimignano along the lines of Montenidoli’s Vernaccia Fiore, or perhaps a Vermentino from the Colli di Luni.

An unillustrated version of this recipe

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Florentine Baked Crespelle, Alessio’s Crespelle alla Fiorentina

Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Enjoy!

Crespelle alla Fiorentina: Enjoy!

Crespella, as one might guess, is the Italian word for crepe, and they go back a very long ways. They also look beautiful, and are quite easy to make – once you have the hang of it – and are therefore the sort of thing that people will think you have gone to great deal more effort to make than you have. In short, Florentine baked crepes are the perfect beginning to a Sunday dinner or holiday meal, or something to serve company.

Don’t let the length of the ingredients list scare you. Chef Alessio Pesucci of the Locanda del Gallo in Chiocchio figures the below will serve 10, though you may find hearty eaters wanting seconds.

** To make 10 crepes **

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) white flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) clarified butter (one could use regular butter if need be)
  • 3/5 cup (140 ml) milk, warmed to 100 F (40 C)
  • A pinch of salt
  • More clarified butter to grease the pan

** For the Filling **

  • 1 1/2 pounds (650 g) ricotta, ideally sheep’s milk, well drained
  • 2 1/2 pounds (1.2 k) well-washed spinach
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (30 g) freshly grated Parmigiano
  • A pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • A pinch freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

    ** For the Béchamel Sauce **

  • 1 quart (1 liter) whole milk
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (50 g) flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch freshly ground nutmeg

** For the Tomato Sauce **

  • 1 2/3 pounds (750 g) ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • A small onion, minced
  • Minced celery equivalent to half the volume of the onion
  • Minced carrot equivalent to a third the volume of the onion
  • 6-7 basil leaves, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

** To Put It All Together **

  • 10 portion-size oven dishes
  • 1 1/3 cups (75 g) freshly grated Parmigiano
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

We’ll begin by preparing the filling: Wash the spinach well, and put it in a pot with the water that adheres to the leaves. Bring it to a boil and cook it for 2 minutes, by which time it will have wilted completely. Remove it from the pot, and as soon as it has cooled to the point that you can handle it, chop it finely.

Alessio prefers sheep’s milk ricotta because cow’s milk ricotta has a floury texture, but cow’s milk is what you have it will work well too. Put the chopped spinach in a large bowl and mix the ricotta into it, together with the eggs, Parmigiano, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Continue mixing until the filling is creamy and homogenous.

Next, make the crepes: Whisk the eggs until they are yellow, adding a pinch of salt. Next, whisk some of the flour into the eggs (don’t worry about lumps at this stage), followed by some of the milk, more flour, and more milk until all is added; whisk until the batter is smooth and runs in a thin stream from the back of a spoon. From start to finish, mixing the batter will take about 3 minutes.

Heat a 12-inch diameter (30 cm) high-sided skillet with a non-stick surface over a fairly brisk flame until it is hot — a drop of water should dance upon it. Lightly grease it, remove it from the burner, and pour a small ladle of batter (a bit more than 1/4 cup) into it at a slant, turning the pan so the batter coats the bottom of the pan.

Return the pan to the burner and cook until the crepe firms up. Use a wooden spatula to loosen the crepe, and flip it to cook the other side.

In all, the cooking time will be about 2 minutes, and with a little practice you can learn to flip the crepes with a flick of the wrist after loosening them: Hold the pan at a slant, dip it (moving the pan forward and down), and then pull back with a deft upwards flick: the crepe will rise up and flip over.

Prrof? I watched Alessio prepare these for a cooking lesson, and though some of the students had their doubts about flipping crepes with a flick of the wrist, everyone did it. So it’s not difficult.

As you make the crepes, lay them flat on your work surface. When you have finished making crepes (you should have about 10), put a dollop of stuffing on each and spread it out to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch (3 mm) or so.

Fold the left and right sides of the crespelle in to help keep the stuffing in place, and roll the crespelle up.

Put the crespelle in a pan for now, and see to making the béchamel sauce and the tomato sauce.

First, the tomato sauce: Blanch, peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes. Chop the onion, carrot, and celery too. Heat the olive oil in a pot and add the chopped herbs and salt. Cook until the onion is translucent, add the tomatoes, and simmer (add the basil shortly before you assemble everything).

Next, see to the Bechamel sauce: Make a roux with butter and the flour, heating it until it is tan. Let it cool some while bringing the milk to a boil. Stir the hot milk into the flour mixture — the temperature difference will keep lumps from forming — and season the mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Simmer the béchamel sauce for 5 minutes, and then remove it from the fire. Stir in the cream, which contributes to the sauce’s texture, and spread a spoonful of béchamel over the bottom of each of the oven dishes.

Cut the crepes at a slant into sections about an inch and a half (3.5 cm) across, and divvy them evenly among the oven dishes. While you are doing this, preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).

Sprinkle tomato sauce over the crepe sections, and spoon the remaining béchamel sauce over the tomato-coated crepes — it will keep the tomatoes from burning.

Dot the crepes with the remaining butter and sprinkle the grated cheese over them.

Bake the crepes for 10-12 minutes, and serve them at once with an elegant white wine. I would be tempted by a good Vernaccia di San Gimignano along the lines of Montenidoli’s Vernaccia Fiore, or perhaps a Vermentino from the Colli di Luni.

This recipe, Illustrated.

Crespella, as one might guess, is the Italian word for crepe, and they go back a very long ways. They also look beautiful, and are quite easy to make – once you have the hang of it – and are therefore the sort of thing that people will think you have gone to great deal more effort to make than you have. In short, Florentine baked crepes are the perfect beginning to a Sunday dinner or holiday meal, or something to serve company.

Don’t let the length of the ingredients list scare you. Alessio Pesucci figures the below will serve 10, though you may find hearty eaters wanting seconds.

** To make 10 crepes **

2 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup (80 g) white flour

1 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) clarified butter (one could use regular butter if need be)

3/5 cup (140 ml) milk, warmed to 100 F (40 C)

A pinch of salt

More clarified butter to grease the pan

** For the Filling **

1 1/2 pounds (650 g) ricotta, ideally sheep’s milk, well drained

2 1/2 pounds (1.2 k) well-washed spinach

2-3 eggs

2/3 cup (30 g) freshly grated Parmigiano

A pinch freshly ground nutmeg

A pinch freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon salt

** For the Béchamel Sauce **

1 quart (1 l) whole milk

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (50 g) flour

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

A pinch freshly ground nutmeg

** For the Tomato Sauce **

1 2/3 pounds (750 g) ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

A small onion, minced

Minced celery equivalent to half the volume of the onion

Minced carrot equivalent to a third the volume of the onion

6-7 basil leaves, shredded

1/2 teaspoon salt

** To Put It All Together **

10 portion-size oven dishes

1 1/3 cups (75 g) freshly grated Parmigiano

1/4 cup unsalted butter

We’ll begin by preparing the filling:

Wash the spinach well, and put it in a pot with the water that adheres to the leaves. Bring it to a boil and cook it for 2 minutes, by which time it will have wilted completely. Remove it from the pot, and as soon as it has cooled to the point that you can handle it, chop it finely.

Alessio prefers sheep’s milk ricotta because cow’s milk ricotta has a floury texture, but cow’s milk is what you have it will work well too. Put the chopped spinach in a large bowl and mix the ricotta into it, together with the eggs, Parmigiano, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Continue mixing until the filling is creamy and homogenous.

Next, make the crepes.

Whisk the eggs until they are yellow, adding a pinch of salt. Next, whisk some of the flour into the eggs (don’t worry about lumps at this stage), followed by some of the milk, more flour, and more milk until all is added; whisk until the batter is smooth and runs in a thin stream from the back of a spoon. From start to finish, mixing the batter will take about 3 minutes.

Heat a 12-inch diameter (30 cm) high-sided skillet with a non-stick surface over a fairly brisk flame until it is hot — a drop of water should dance upon it. Lightly grease it, remove it from the burner, and pour a small ladle of batter (a bit more than 1/4 cup) into it at a slant, turning the pan so the batter coats the bottom of the pan.

Return the pan to the burner and cook until the crepe firms up. Use a wooden spatula to loosen the crepe, and flip it to cook the other side.

In all, the cooking time will be about 2 minutes, and with a little practice you can learn to flip the crepes with a flick of the wrist after loosening them: Hold the pan at a slant, dip it (moving the pan forward and down), and then pull back with a deft upwards flick: the crepe will rise up and flip over.

I watched Alessio Pesucci of the Locanda Del Gallo prepare these for a cooking lesson, and though some of the students had their doubts about flipping crepes with a flick of the wrist, everyone did it. So it’s not difficult.

As you make the crepes, lay them flat on your work surface. When you have finished making crepes (you should have about 10), put a dollop of stuffing on each and spread it out to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch (3 mm) or so.

Fold the left and right sides of the crespelle in to help keep the stuffing in place, and roll the crespelle up.

Put the crespelle in a pan for now, and see to making the béchamel sauce and the tomato sauce.

First, the tomato sauce:

Blanch, peel, seed, and chop the tomatoes. Chop the onion, carrot, and celery too. Heat the olive oil in a pot and add the chopped herbs and salt. Cook until the onion is translucent, add the tomatoes, and simmer (add the basil shortly before you assemble everything).

Next, see to the Bechamel sauce:

Make a roux with butter and the flour, heating it until it is tan. Let it cool some while bringing the milk to a boil. Stir the hot milk into the flour mixture — the temperature difference will keep lumps from forming — and season the mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Simmer the béchamel sauce for 5 minutes, and then remove it from the fire. Stir in the cream, which contributes to the sauce’s texture, and spread a spoonful of béchamel over the bottom of each of the oven dishes.

Cut the crepes at a slant into sections about an inch and a half (3.5 cm) across, and divvy them evenly among the oven dishes. While you are doing this, preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C).

Sprinkle tomato sauce over the crepe sections, and spoon the remaining béchamel sauce over the tomato-coated crepes — it will keep the tomatoes from burning.

Dot the crepes with the remaining butter and sprinkle the grated cheese over them.

Bake the crepes for 10-12 minutes, and serve them at once with an elegant white wine. I would be tempted by a good Vernaccia di San Gimignano along the lines of Montenidoli’s Vernaccia Fiore, or perhaps a Vermentino from the Colli di Luni.

An illustrated version of this recipe

Alessio’s Baked Fusilli with Artichokes, Fusilli Con Carciofi E Formaggio

Alessio's Baked Fusilli with Artichokes & Cheese

Alessio’s Baked Fusilli with Artichokes & Cheese

Baked pasta is a universe, and though Lasagna is what comes to mind first, there are a great many other options. Artichokes, for example, work very well with a creamy cheese sauce, and when baked with a chunky “tubular” pasta such as fusilli yield an extremely tasty dish. This was prepared by chef Alessio Pesucci of the Locanda del Gallo, in Chiocchio, not far from Florence.

To serve 5:

  •  3/4 pound (about 350 g) corkscrews or similar short pasta
  • 6 artichokes
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • A clove of garlic, crushed but left whole
  • 1 cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmigiano
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsely

** For the Bechamel Sauce **

  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk, cold
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg (no more)

** To Assemble the Dish **

  • 5 individual portion baking dishes of the sort shown above
  • Butter for buttering the dishes and to dot over the pasta
  • Another 3/4 cup Parmigiano, with which to dust the pasta before baking it

Set a pot of pasta water to boil; when it does salt it and cook the pasta.

In the meantime, clean the artichokes (see instructions if need be), and slice them and their stems.

Heat the oil in a saucepan large enough to contain the artichokes, and saute the garlic over a medium flame until it becomes golden. Remove and discard it, and add the artichokes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the bechamel sauce by heating the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and simmer the mixture, stirring, until it becomes golden. Add the milk in a quick stream, stirring constantly, and then the nutmeg, and once the sauce thickens simmer it over a gentle flame while stirring gently for about 5 minutes, or until it thickens.

At this point preheat your oven to 380 F (190 C).

By now the pasta should be cooked. Drain it and turn it into a bowl. Add to it the artichokes, bechamel sauce, grated Parmigiano, and parsley. Check seasoning and mix well. Butter the baking dishes and divide the pasta evenly between them. Dot the pasta with a little more butter, sprinkle grated cheese over it, and bake the pasta for 10 minutes.

Serve at once, and I would probably go with a white wine here, for example a Vermentino dei Colli di Luni.

Lasagna With Sausage & Squash, Lasagne Con Salsiccia e Zucca

Sausage and Squash Lasagna

Sausage and Squash Lasagna

Lasagna is an infinite universe, and while there are some universal standbys, there are also a great many seasonal variations on the theme. This lasagna with squash and sausages, for example, is perfect in the fall. I used Italian zucca gialla, which is a bright yellow with a green rind, but butternut squash will also work well.

  • 1/2 pound (about 200 g) sheets of lasagna
  • A leek, green part and roots trimmed away and discarded
  • 2/3 pound (300 g) squash pulp, diced
  • A little more than 1/2 pound (250 g) fresh mild Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/4 pound (115 g) Swiss cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) béchamel sauce
  • 1 1/3 cups (70 g) freshly grated Parmigiano
  • Olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Set pasta water to boil, salting it when it begins to bubble.

While it is heating, wash the leek well, cut it in half lengthwise, and chop it finely. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over a medium flame and cook the garlic clove for a couple of minutes, until it begins to color. Fish it out and discard it, and add the leeks. Salt them to taste and wilt them for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Crumble the sausages into the leeks and brown them for a couple of minutes, stirring, then add the squash and simmer the mixture for 10 more minutes.

While the sauce is simmering cook the lasagna per the instructions on the package, and preheat your oven to 380 F (190 C).

Butter a lasagna pan proportionate to the volume of the ingredients, and line the bottom with the béchamel sauce. Cover it with a layer of pasta, followed by some of the squash mixture, some of the cheeses, and then more pasta, until all is used up; finish with Parmigiano and dot it with the butter.

Bake the lasagna for about a half hour, or until it is nicely browned.

A wine? This is fairly rich, so I might go with something zesty along the lines of a Bardolino.

How to make Lasagna Alla Bolognese, Illustrated

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