It’s the weekend and if you’re anything like me, I enjoy making recipes that actually take a little more time in the kitchen. It’s still not spring yet, so comfort food is first and foremost on most of our minds. Lasagna is one of those dishes that really fills you up and makes you warm all over, probably the true sign of a good heart-warming meal. I have made all kinds of lasagna recipes here on my blog, but I wanted to share with you a new rendition of an old classic, and make lasagna Bolognese-style.
If you haven’t been to Bologna Italy you must get there when this pandemic is over. I think it could be my favorite food city on the planet. Yes, my first trip there happened to be with Jonathan Gold and Nancy Silverton with the Los Angeles Times group and yes, we ate at some of the most amazing places, but you can too. The food there is hardy and meat-based because it’s Northern Italy, where the weather gets much colder than the southern parts during most months of the year. The pasta there is extraordinary and that’s where tortellini in brodo comes from, a soup like dish with floating microscopic veal stuffed pasta. It’s amazing.
Bolognese or meat sauce is also from this region and what makes this lasagna different from other areas in Italy is that they make it with béchamel sauce, or white cream sauce, instead of ricotta cheese. So, basically there are two sauces in this lasagna, and isn’t two always better than one? The layers of pasta are sandwiched between these two sauces, then mozzarella and parmesan are sprinkled on top of the layers. I used store-bought noodles, but if you want to go crazy in the kitchen this weekend, you can make some from scratch. I happen to think it could be my best lasagna yet because it’s so soft and creamy and meaty and lovely. Am I making you hungry yet?
1 onion, peeled and cut into thirds
3 stalks celery, cut into thirds
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine or water
4 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup half & half
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces mozzarella, sliced
1 cup grated parmesan
olive oil for cooking and casserole dish
- To make meat sauce – In a food processor, add onion, celery and carrots. Pulse until course texture. Add vegetables to a deep skillet along with 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Sauté for 3 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add salt, oregano and pepper, stir.
- Add both meats, and stir, breaking apart with spoon as you go. Cook for 10 minutes or until meat is brown and crumbly. Add tomatoes and paste, stir until combined. Add wine and stir to incorporate. Turn heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, while making béchamel sauce. Boil noodles for 10 minutes, drain and cool.
- To make béchamel sauce – in a saucepan, add butter and place over medium heat. Whisk until melted and sprinkle flour into pan. Continue to whisk for 1 minute. Add milk and half & half, turn heat to low and continue to whisk until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add salt and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, whisk to combine and turn off heat.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To assemble lasagna – Place two ladles of meat sauce in bottom of 13 x 9 oiled baking dish. Place 4 noodles on bottom of dish and top with more meat sauce to cover. Drizzle top with béchamel sauce, and place half of mozzarella on top and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Repeat twice more, with no mozzarella on final layer on top. Cover with foil.
- Bake in oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. You can make lasagna ahead and refrigerate for up to 2 days, just increase cooking time by 10 minutes. Slice and Enjoy!