For some reason, I got hooked in making some lasagnas at home. Just a couple of days after I made this tomato-sausage lasagna, I looked for another recipe and decided to make one again. Maybe because this time, I really wanted to make the real, classic version of a lasagna. It’s exactly the lasagna bolognese that is filled with lots of interesting ingredients such as real ground beef (or partly, with ground pork), the magical ragu, and the oozing bechamel sauce. Well, this recipe I got entails a little bit more of extra work, but pepper it with love and passion, this lasagna bolognese is worth everything. My husband and I enjoyed it so much that we didn’t leave anything for the freezer for the next fast food Fridays!
I believe I mentioned before about having my lasagnas breaking apart when I start getting a piece. Well, I just came to realize that it is very, very important to let the freshly cooked lasagna rest for a certain time, approximately 30 minutes before slicing and serving. As you’d notice, my lasagna on this photo doesn’t deserve this, an imperfect square! Truth is, it was my fault. We’re too excited and too hungry to wait further, hence a deformed lasagna. Lesson learned. So, don’t judge the lasagna by the way it looks here. Believe me, it’s really, really delicious!
- cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 10 ounces white button mushrooms
- 2 carrots, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1 6 -ounce piece prosciutto, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef chuck
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup cognac or brandy
- 1 28 -ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 cups whole milk
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh lasagna sheets
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 pound parmesan, grated (2 to 3 cups)
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella or fontina, grated (4 to 5 cups)
- Make the ragu: Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups hot water until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain the porcini, reserving the liquid.
2. Make the ragu: Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups hot water until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain the porcini, reserving the liquid.
3. Finely chop the porcini and white mushrooms in a food processor; transfer to a bowl. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, parsley and prosciutto to the processor; pulse until finely chopped.
4. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Cook the ground beef and pork in batches, breaking them up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a bowl. Add the wine to the pot, scraping up the browned bits. Add the liquid to the bowl with the meat.
5. Melt the butter in the pot; add the onion, chopped carrot mixture, the rosemary, bay leaves and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste and mushrooms and cook, stirring, about 8 minutes.
6. Return the meat mixture to the pot. Add the cognac and scrape up the browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Crush the tomatoes with your hands over the pot and add with their juices. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 hours, 30 minutes. Cool completely.
7. Meanwhile, make the bechamel: Melt the butter in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, nutmeg, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, whisking, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking, 10 more minutes.
8. Assemble the lasagna: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a few inches of salted water to a boil in a wide saucepan. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Line a baking sheet with a damp kitchen towel. Working in batches, boil the pasta until partially cooked, about 4 minutes, then remove with a skimmer and transfer to the ice water to cool. Remove the pasta sheets, shake off the excess water and arrange in a single layer on the towel. Cover the pasta with another damp towel.
9. Brush the bottom and sides of a deep 11-by-13-inch baking dish with the butter. Spread 1/2 cup ragu in the pan. Cover with a layer of pasta, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup parmesan and 2/3 cup mozzarella. Spread 1 1/2 cups ragu over the cheese and top with 1 cup bechamel. Repeat with 3 more layers each of pasta, parmesan, mozzarella, ragu and bechamel. Top with a layer of pasta, then cover with the remaining bechamel. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and mozzarella. Tuck the edges of the pasta into the baking dish with a knife.
10. Place the lasagna on a baking sheet to catch any drips; bake until bubbly and golden, about 40 minutes. Let rest 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Recipe taken from the Food Network.