Ith (ithildyn) wrote,
Ith
ithildyn

Bitchin' Lasagna

This weekend, I made a big batch of stew, and a big batch of lasagna to replenish our freezer. I'd never made lasagna with béchamel sauce (with or without a lavender) before, and wanted to try making one, so I did! I went through dozens of recipes, picking and choosing the bits I liked, and came up with the following. ninjababe gave it her stamp of approval, telling me it was really awful, and she'd eat mine for me.

This recipe makes a lot of lasagna (two pans), and I still have sauce left over!



Ith's Bitchin' Lasagna

Bolognese Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces bacon or pancetta, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound ground beef or ground veal
1/2 pound pork sausage, removed from the casings, or ground pork
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce OR two tins of tomato paste with 8 ounces of water and 8 ounces of red wine (what I used since I didn't have the sauce)
1 cup beef or chicken stock or broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until browned and the fat is rendered, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the beef and sausages, and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, beef broth, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

Parmesan Bechamel Sauce:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
8 cups milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups grated Parmesan

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, to make a light roux, about 2 minutes. Whisking constantly, slowly add the milk and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and Parmesan and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the bechamel until ready to assemble the lasagna.

Extra Bits:
1 Container of Ricotta Cheese
Lots of Parmigiano cheese
Whatever sort of lasagna pasta you want

Assembly
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Assemble the lasagna, beginning with a layer of sauce, a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano, a layer of pasta, dollops of ricotta, a layer of béchamel, a layer of sauce, a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano etc. until all sauce and pasta are used up. The top layer should be pasta with béchamel over it. Top the lasagna with grated Parmigiano and bake in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until the edges are browned and the sauces are bubbling. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.



And after this, I've decided I really need a full size food processor! It's tagged as the next big purchase.

Tags: a shortcut to mushrooms
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