Lasagna Bolognese

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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I love to watch and listen to cooking shows… one that I often look forward to is The Splendid Table. Once while driving to some place where I more than likely had all 15 kids and wasn’t in a very good mood…  

Then again… I am usually never in one,

Besides stating the obvious and getting back to my point,   Lynne Rossetto Kasper was talking about a Bolognese sauce… I stopped screaming at a kid when I heard her talking about it.. Something about sauces cooking for more than 20 minutes peaks my interests… and for about 10 minutes the kids didn’t get a lecture and I was imagining what it would taste like..
 I am a firm believer when you cook certain ingredients for a long period of time the flavors have time to come alive and develop.. melting together and creating a dish that was well worth the time and effort..

That is until you walk off on the phone completely forgetting you have a sauce on the stove bubbling away…  ten minutes later, have to get off that phone to break up a fight… send one kid to bed.. send the other to finish their cleaning chore.. and start smelling a wonderful smell laced with burning pot….

Not that I have ever done that… just saying it could happen.

So because of those ten minutes of pure listening bliss I’ve been toying with this idea of making lasagna bolognese for months. Once I had the chance to make it I jumped on it.. actually more like waddled over and sat on the idea so it wouldn’t get away..

Before I share this I must warn you… this isn’t a recipe you start at 3 pm hoping for it to be done for dinner at 5… this is more of start at 11 am  and then it will be done for 5.  but don’t shy away… it is just time.. not a lot of work…

Usually the recipes I share feed about 4… and since we are a big family I always double.. so everything in the pictures are for a doubled portion… mind you I had enough for a 9x13 pan, a oval 12 inch pan and a small casserole dish….

First we need to make our soffritto diced, onions, carrots and celery

Sautee till onions are golden

Add the beef, pork, and sausage give it a good stir and start browning

Once your meat is browned add your tomatoes…

Realize your pot is way too small transfer into larger pot.. or just start off with a larger pot to begin with

Next add the salt

Milk and simmer for 4 hours… stirring every 20 minutes…

Now for the Béchamel sauce… it is important to follow the instructions here… the first time I made it I thought I was being smart by just adding the milk and butter together and then adding the flour…

NO!!!  do as the recipe calls for… you will thank me later

Milk in large pot, heat till almost boiling

Meanwhile melt butter…

Add flour

Cook for one minute..

Add half of the hot milk to the butter/ flour
Panic and forget to take the next pictures because you are too busy trying to stir and have a lump free sauce.. somewhere in there add some salt… the rest of the milk and keep stirring until you have a thick sauce… some people like nutmeg or cinnamon added to the sauce.. I for one like to leave it alone.

Here I have my assembly station  , home made noodles, Béchamel, Bolognese, and parmesan cheese 

Spray or oil pan

Layer of noodles

A thick layer of meat sauce

Noodle and then a layer of béchamel and parm. Cheese sprinkled over

Repeat till no more sauces or run outta room in your pan and move onto the next one  like I did..

Do layer it how you want.. I’ve seen it noodle, both sauces, then noodle, both sauces…so on …  top layer always has béchamel and parmesan cheese.

Cook at 350 for 30 minutes or until top is browned lightly.


Bolognese Sauce:
  • 2 oz. Diced pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 Medium Spanish onion or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 Carrot, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 11 oz Ground beef
  • 4 oz Ground pork
  • 4 oz Ground Italian sausage
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lb peeled and chopped tomatoes (or 1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Béchamel Sauce:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • Enough lasagna noodles to make four layers in a 13x9-inch baking pan with the lasagna pieces overlapping each other a little bit.
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Prepare the Bolognese Meat Sauce

1 Make the soffritto. Combine pancetta, onion, celery, and carrot in sauté pan with butter and cook over medium heat until onion turns pale gold.
2 Add the beef, pork, sausage to the soffritto, and increase the heat to high; cook until browned.

3 Stir in tomatoes, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. If you are using whole canned tomatoes, break them up as you add them to the sauce.
4 Add milk and season with sea salt. Then turn down the heat and let simmer for 4 and 1/2 hours. Stir at least every 20 minutes. Whenever the sauce simmers down to the point that it is sticking to the bottom of the pan, just add 1/4 cup of water and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom and continue to cook.

Make the Béchamel sauce.

5 Heat the milk until almost boiling in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. In a separate pan melt the unsalted butter with the flour over low heat. Stir rapidly with a spoon. Cook this for 1 minute and then remove from the heat.
6 Slowly add half the hot milk to your butter and flour mixture. During this process stir constantly.
7 Return the milk, butter, flour mixture to low heat until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the remaining milk slowly while stirring working it into the thickened sauce. Continue to stir until it comes to a boil.
8 Season with some sea salt, and continue stirring until the right consistency has developed. If any lumps form, beat them out rapidly with a whisk until they dissolve. Remove from heat.

Prepare the Lasagna

9 Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook the lasagna according to instructions. About 8 minutes in 6 quarts of boiling salted water. Drain, rinse with cold water. Lay the individual lasagna noodles out on kitchen towels, not touching, so they do not stick together while you layer the casserole.

10 Spread a little olive oil around the inside of a 13x9-inch baking pan. Make sure your baking pan is non-reactive - pyrex or stainless steel. Do not use an aluminum pan as it will react with the acidity of the sauce and ruin the flavor. Put a layer of lasagna noodles down first. Layer on a third of the bolognese sauce, then a third of the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Repeat two more times. Top with a final layer of noodles and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
11 Tent the casserole with aluminum foil. Put lasagna into the middle rack of a pre-heated 375°F oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the top begins to get lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.


Jessica said...

Surprise!!! I nominated you for the Leibster Award! Thank you for all your hard work posting all the delicious recipes and sharing your rants!

kathy said...

this looks sooooo yummy! tell us more about those noodles.

mountain mama

HaggyHouseWife said...

Yes... The noodles...I will get that blog up soon...

And Jessica... Thank you!

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