Bolognese lasagna with Bechamel

Bolognese lasagna with Bechamel

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  • Prep Time

    minutes

  • Total Time

    minutes

  • Servings

    servings


Ingredients

  • Ingredients

  • For the meat sauce:

  • 3

    pounds ground beef

  • 1

    cup finely diced celery

  • 1

    cup finely diced carrots

  • 1

    cup finely diced onions

  • 1

    cup white wine

  • 1

    quart whole or 2 percent milk

  • 1

    quart (4 cups) low-salt beef stock, or a combination of beef and chicken

  • 8

    ounces (¾ cup) tomato paste

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 2

    dried bay leaves

  • 6

    fresh sage leaves

  • For the bechamel sauce:

  • 2

    ounces (½ stick) butter

  • 1

    ounce (¼ cup) cake or all-purpose flour

  • 3

    cups whole milk

  • teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

  • Salt and black or white pepper

  • To finish:

  • Olive oil, for frying

  • 1

    cup fresh sage leaves, loosely packed

  • 12 to 16

    ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 1

    pound fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

  • 2

    cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed

Directions

For the meat sauce: Heat a large heavy pot over high heat. When the pan is hot, add meat and cook, stirring to break up chunks, until any liquid has evaporated and the meat starts to fry in its own fat. Use a sturdy spoon and scrape the bottom often, to prevent burning. When meat is golden and crusty, 10 to 15 minutes, add carrots, onions and celery. Keep stirring and scraping over medium-high heat. When vegetables have softened and meat is dark brown, reduce heat to low and pour in white wine. Scrape all the drippings up from the bottom of the pot. Add milk, stock and tomato paste, bring to a simmer, and mix the sauce until smooth. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add bay leaves and sage and cook until meat is very soft and sauce is thick, about 30 minutes more. Set aside, or cool and refrigerate up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature or warm before using. Make the béchamel sauce: In a heavy saucepan, melt butter until bubbly. Sprinkle flour on the butter and cook, stirring, until it smells buttery and turns golden. Whisking vigorously over medium heat, slowly pour in milk and whisk until mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Keep whisking and cooking for another 5 to 10 minutes: the sauce should be thick and smooth, with no floury taste. Set aside, or cool to room temperature and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature or warm before using; whisk in more milk if necessary to make a texture like thin mayonnaise. Transfer to a pastry bag or thick sealable plastic bag. Assemble the lasagna: Bring a small saucepan with about 2 inches of olive oil to a simmer and line a plate with paper towels. Working in 4 or 5 batches, add the sage leaves and fry just until crisp and golden, about 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to transfer sage to paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a roasting pan, about 14 x 17 inches x 3 inches. There should be room to stack three or four layers of ingredients. Cover the bottom of the pan with sheets of pasta. Cover the pasta with a thin layer of meat sauce. Snip off a corner or open a small-size tip of the bag with the bechamel and drizzle the sauce in an abstract pattern over the meat sauce (think Jackson Pollock). Scatter a layer of both cheeses on top. Scatter basil leaves and fried sage leaves on top. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with cheese and herbs on top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, then with aluminum foil. Bake until lasagna is piping hot inside and bubbling up, 20 to 40 minutes depending on starting temperature of ingredients. (The internal temperature should be at least 140 degrees.) Remove plastic wrap and foil, raise temperature to 450 degrees (or turn on the broiler or convection function) and bake another few minutes, until top is golden brown, crusty with cheese and bubbling around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool at least 30 minutes on a rack before cutting and serving. Note: If you can’t make your own pasta, you can find fresh white or green pasta dough at many supermarkets and pasta shops, or online. You’ll need 2 to 2 1/2 pounds fresh pasta. For online ordering, there is usually a minimum of 3 to 5 pounds, but the pasta freezes well. If using dried lasagna, try to buy rough-textured noodles from Italy, and boil just until al dente. They will cook further in the lasagna. Adapted from Frank Prisinzano, Frank Restaurant, New York Try more recipes like this


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