Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lasagne alla Bolognese


• An 8 ounce can minced plum tomatoes
• 1/2 pound ground beef
• 2 ounces prosciutto (ham)
• 1/2 an onion, minced
• A small carrot, minced
• few leaves of basil (if it’s in season), and a small bunch of parsley, minced A 6-inch stalk of celery, minced
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup dry red wine
• 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 cups milk
• 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour
• Olive oil
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• Nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste
• A pound of store-bought lasagna, either fresh or dried

To make the meat sauce, start by mincing the prosciutto, onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté the mixture in two tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan till the onion’s translucent, then add the meat and continue cooking till it’s browned. Add the parsley and basil, the salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg, and the red wine, and simmer the sauce over a low flame till the wine’s evaporated. Then thicken the sauce with a half-tablespoon of flour stirred into the sauce, let cook for a few minutes, and add the canned tomatoes. Check the seasoning and simmer over a low flame, for at least a half hour.
Make a béchamel sauce by melting the butter and adding the remaining flour, stirring to keep lumps from forming. Cook until the flour begins to brown, and then add the milk, a few drops at a time, stirring briskly to keep lumps from forming. Should they form anyways, remove the pot from the flames and stir them out before adding more milk. Add a pinch of grated nutmeg and continue cooking over a low flame till the sauce thickens somewhat. Set it aside.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil, adding a tablespoon of oil to it to keep the sheets of pasta from sticking to each other. Butter an oven proof dish while the first few sheets of pasta are cooking. Remove the pasta with a slotted strainer when it’s a little bit al dente. Drain it well and add some more sheets to the water.

Preheat your oven to 385 F.

Lay the first layer of pasta in the dish, following it with a layer of meat sauce, another layer of pasta, a layer of béchamel with cheese, and so on, till the pasta, sauce, and béchamel are used up. Go easy on the Parmesan cheese with the top layer, because it can become bitter as it browns. Heat the lasagna through in the oven (they should be lightly browned) and serve them with more grated Parmesan cheese on the side.
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