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Traditional Bolognese Lasagne

Traditional Bolognese Lasagne

Traditional Bolognese Lasagne

This traditional Italian-style lasagna has no mozzarella or ricotta cheeses, but with the delicious creamy besciamella, you won’t miss them at all. It is my absolute favorite baked pasta dish and a very comforting dinner on a winter evening.

Makes 6 – 8 servings

Bolognese Sauce:

                  1/3 cup olive oil
                  1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
                  2 tablespoons minced garlic
                  2/3 cup finely chopped carrots
                  1/3 cup finely chopped zucchini
                  1/3 cup finely chopped yellow summer squash
                  1/2 pound ground meat (have your butcher prepare a mixture of
                  1/4 pound beef, 1/8 pound pork, and 1/8 pound veal, if not available
                  at your local grocery.)
                 
3 tablespoons heavy cream
                  One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
                  One 6-ounce can tomato paste
                  3/4 teaspoon salt
                  1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                  2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Besciamella Sauce:                                    

                  1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
                  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
                  2 cups whole milk
                  2 cups heavy cream
                  1/2 teaspoon salt
                  1/4 teaspoon white pepper

One 12-ounce box (3/4 pound) rippled edge lasagne noodles (not oven ready lasagne)
1/2 cup finely grated Locatelli Romano cheese

To make the Bolognese Sauce:  Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender, 8-10 minutes. Add the carrots, zucchini, and squash, and cook until tender for 4-5 minutes. Add the ground meat, raise the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon and stirring often, until the meat is browned through, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons of the cream, stirring until well combined. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and pepper, and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and the basil. Use immediately or store, covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

To make the Besciamella Sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan, over medium-high heat. When the butter is completely melted and bubbling, add the flour, whisking until well blended. Let the butter and flour cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually add the milk and cream, whisking constantly. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, and whisk occasionally until the sauce is smooth and thickened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and allow to stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before assembling the lasagne.

To make the Lasagne:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the lasagne noodles, stirring gently to prevent them from sticking together. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the lasagne is tender, but still quite al dente, 4-5 minutes. (Remember that the noodles will continue to cook more in the oven.)

Drain well and spread the noodles in a single layer on waxed paper to cool slightly.

Brush the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2-inch casserole dish with butter. Place a layer of lasagne noodles over the bottom of the dish, overlapping the noodles. Spread a layer of the Bolognese Sauce (about 2 cups) over the noodles, and then layer of the Besciamella sauce (about 1 1/2 cups). Repeat the layers and being sure to end with the Besciamella sauce. Sprinkle the Romano cheese evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.