Recipes   /   Lasagne alla Bolognese

Lasagne alla Bolognese

Nov 27, 2009 by Gabriele Corcos

DIFFICULTY

Today’s recipe is a gem!
Lasagne alla Bolognese (with meat sauce) is one of the most popular dishes of Emila-Romagna, in Italy. Because of the proximity with Tuscany, the dish is now a very well represented item in restaurants’ menus throughout my region and many families have their own version of it: today we will introduce you to the traditional recipe… the one without Ricotta Cheese!!!
Don’t let the hours of work needed to cook this intimidate you, indeed this is a dish that can be prepared without braking a major sweat… no surprises here.The idea behind this episode is to show you how to cook something that can be prepared well in advance (it can be refrigerated or frozen), in case you are planning a party, an evening out at the theatre, a date, or maybe grandma is visiting tomorrow?! I shot this episode while Debi was doing the final episode of Dancing With The Stars; I was going to attend the show, which meant I did not have the time to cook in the evening, but I still wanted to throw a nice after show dinner for the wife and a few friends…. I spent the morning cooking, the afternoon on stage watching my lady dance, and I had a major feast ready to be served when I got back home! On top of that, since I prepared two trays of Lasagne, I was able to freeze one for the upcoming Holidays.
It goes without saying that the appropriate way of doing things would be to also prepare your own pasta and cut the fresh lasagne yourself; right… next time, maybe!

Go shop for fresh ingredients, make sure your iPod is loaded with some good Bossanova, wash your hands and get to work.

Note – The Bolognese Sauce that we will prepare for this Lasagne is an exceptional condiment for pasta as well, give it a shot!

BOLOGNESE SAUCE 

Makes: 6 cups (two 9″ × 13″ trays) / Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cooking Time: 3 hours

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 lb. ground veal
  • 3 (28 oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes (pelati), puréed in a blender
  • 5 oz. pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup red wine

 

BESCIAMELLA

Yields: 3 cups  / Prep time: 5 minutes  / Cook time: 20 minutes

  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

LASAGNE

Serving: 16 (8 servings per 9″ × 13″ tray) / Prep time: 40 minutes  / Cook time: 45 minutes

  • Bolognese sauce (recipe above)
  • Besciamella (recipe above)
  • 6 tsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Parmesan
  • 2 boxes of Lasagne (9 oz), no boiling required
  • 2 disposable aluminum trays 9″ × 13″

BOLOGNESE MEAT SAUCE

1In a 6-to 8-quart pot, heat the olive oil sauce over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and pancetta and sauté for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pancetta looks crisp and the vegetables have softened.

2Add the beef, pork, and veal, increase the heat to high, and stir frequently, breaking up the meat until browned. Add the red pepper flakes and parsley and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the alcohol is completely evaporated.

3Add the pureed tomatoes, season generously with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4Add the milk, stir well, remove from the heat, and set aside to cool before using in the lasagne.

 

BESCIAMELLA (Béchamel Sauce)

1In a small saucepan, warm up the milk over medium heat.

2In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn the flour.

3Add the warm milk to the butter-flour mixture and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 15 minutes until thickened.

4Season the sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Taste to ensure the flour flavor has dissipated. If you still taste the flour, cook a few minutes longer.

Importante!:

For a thicker besciamella, add 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon of flour and cook for a few minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.

To thin a sauce, add 1 tablespoon milk (or 2 if needed). 

LASAGNE

1Preheat the oven to 375º F. Butter well the aluminum trays and pour a first thin layer of meat sauce.

2Add the first layer of Lasagne and cover (in order) with meat sauce, about 3 ladles of besciamella, and a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Repeat the same operation until you almost reach the top of the tray. Make sure you lasagne are soaking into the sauce; because you are working with pasta that does not require boiling you have to make sure that there are no wedges of lasagne sticking out of the sauce… they won’t cook!

3When done layering the ingredients, top the lasagne with some meat sauce and some besciamella, add a few thin slices of butter and finish it with some grated parmesan.

4Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes.

When your fantastic Lasagne alla Bolognese are cooked: If you are ready to serve the dish right away, give it a nice crisp by broiling it about 5 minutes, if you intend to freeze it or serve it later in the day set aside to cool off a half hour, then refrigerate or freeze.

When you decide to tap into your reserve of frozen lasagne keep in mind you need to thaw them overnight!

Serve with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some Grated Parmesan to taste.

 

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