Margarita's International Recipes
Lasagna bolognese differs from other lasagnas by its use of bechamel sauce instead of ricotta, and by its rich and very flavorful meat ragout. It's not a quick dish, and I indeed spent two days making it. There are many variations out there, I chose this recipe because it got great reviews and wasn't too different from those I found in cookbooks.
The results were quite good, and while the elements were all good separately, I feel they could be put together better. The recipe below is how I would make this lasagna, if I was to cook it again. Basically, I'd use less pasta and Mozarella exclusively, rather than a combination of Mozarella and Fontina.
For the Meat Ragout
- 1 pckg dried porcini mushrooms
- 10 oz white button mushrooms
- 2 carrots, washed & quartered
- 2 stalks celery, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup parsley
- 6 oz prosciutto, cut into 1" pieces
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 2 cups white wine
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tbsp. salt
- 5 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes
For the Bechamel sauce
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
- 6 cups milk
For the Lasagna
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 lb. lasagna sheets
- 12 oz Parmesan, grated
- 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, grated
Make the Bolognese sauce
Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups hot water for 30 minutes. Drain, reserve both mushrooms and liquid.
In a food processor, finely chop the porcini and white mushrooms together. Remove from the bowl and set aside. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, parsley and prosciutto to the bowl of the food processor and chop.
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the ground beef and pork and cook until brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Deglace the pot with the wine. Pour the wine from the pot into the bowl with the meat.
Add butter to the pot and melt over medium heat. Add the onion, the carrot mixture, the rosemary, bay leaves and 2 tsp. salt. Cook until browned, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and chopped mushrooms and cook for 8 more minutes. Add the meat and mix well. Add the cognac. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. Add 2 cups of water plus the reserved mushroom liquid. Using your hands, crush the tomatoes one by one and add them to the pot. Add the juices from the tomato can.
Simmer over medium-low heat uncovered for about 2 1/2 hours or until thick, stirring occasionally. Cool.
Make the Bechamel sauce
Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk. Continue cooking and whisking until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking and whisking for 10 more minutes. Cool
Preheat oven to 400F.
Brush the bottom and sides of a lasagna pan with the butter.
In a large pot, boil salted water for the pasta. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with ice and water and line a couple of large baking sheets with dam kitchen towels.
Cook pasta until al-dente. Remove from boiling water and place in ice water to cool. You can do this in batches to make sure the sheets don't break. Remove lasagna sheets form the cold water and lay on damp kitchen towels.
Spread about 2/3 cup of Bolognese sauce on the bottom of the lasagna pan. Cover with a lawyer of lasagna sheets. Sprinkle with parmesan and mozarella cheese. Add a layer of sauce and one of bechamel. Repeat adding layers of pasta, parmesan, mozarella, sauce and bechamel until all your pasta is done. The top layer should have just pasta, bechamel and cheese.
Put the lasagna pan on a baking sheet. Bake until bubbly and golden, around 40 minutes. Rest for 30 minutes before slicing.
Adapted from a recipe at the Food Network.
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