Friday, February 26, 2010

Lasagne Bolognese

During the layering process (above)... and the final product (below)

I love spinach noodles so this recipe I had to try! It is not a traditional lasagne with ricotta and red sauce but a white sauce with a little bit of Parmesan cheese. It is the second time I made it and I still love it. It requires more attention that a typical weeknight dinner so make sure you have a lot of time when you do it. I served it with a salad and garlic bread.

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 pound veal, ground
1 pound pork, ground
4 ounces prosciutto, cut into small pieces
¼ cup tomato paste
1 cup milk
1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 pound fresh spinach pasta sheets, cut into long strips (or dried lasagne noodles blanched for 6 minutes and refreshed)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, heat olive oil and butter until butter is melted. Add onion, carrot, and garlic, and sweat over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables are translucent. Increase heat and add veal, pork, and prosciutto to the vegetables, and brown over high heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up any lumps. Add the tomato paste, milk, and wine, and simmer uncovered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid has evaporated but ragu is still moist – about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the flour, and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, about 2 minutes. Do not allow the flour to become colored. Remove from heat. While flour is cooking heat the milk in a separate pan until it is just about to boil. Add the milk to the butter mixture, no more than a few tablespoons at a time. Stir steadily and thoroughly. As soon as the first 2 T. of milk have been incorporated add 2 more, and continue to stir. Repeat this procedure until you have added ½ cup milk; you can now add the rest of the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking continuously until the sauce is very smooth. Place the pan over low heat, add the salt, and cook, stirring without interruption, until the sauce is as dense as thick cream. Remove from the heat and season with nutmeg.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with melted butter or oil, and layer in the following order from the bottom: béchamel, pasta, ragù, béchamel, and grated cheese (saving about 1 cup béchamel for last topping), making 5 layers of pasta, finishing with béchamel, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan sprinkled over the top. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the casserole is bubbling. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 20 minutes, slice, and serve.

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