I had no idea that when I was marrying my husband I was in fact marrying a pasta fiend. Truly.
My husband can have spaghetti alla whatever every other night, and lasagna the next night. I, on the other hand, am not into pasta as much as he is. Nobody is into pasta as much as he is. Italians, maybe.
The first time I made him Lasagna Bolognese he gasped when I told him that this lasagna is without ricotta. He was confused because he comes from the belief that you shouldn’t play with good food; you should leave the classics as they are. I explained to him that this was indeed a classic and that it came from a different part of town called Bologna. Nervously, he accepted his piece of the pie…
And he was glad he did.
He thought he was going to miss that ricotta, but one bite into this lasagna and the hubs was happy to admit that this was a fantastic dish and it would have to make an appearance again. And indeed it has. Many, many times.
Before you begin, I should tell you that this dish takes time. You will have to pay attention to a couple of pots at once. You will also need to set aside a good two hours to get it all done. But, as always, it will all be worth it in the end.
Lasagna Bolognese with Bechamel Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium sized carrots, sliced into thin rounds
- 2 small yellow onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 1.5 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
- 2 to 4 tablespoons butter
- 9 to 12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to the directions on the package
- Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan.
- Add sliced carrots and chopped onions and cook for 3 minutes; mix in the minced garlic and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add in meat and cook until browned, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the wine and continue to cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes, bring to a boil, then lower heat and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside.
Make the Bechamel Sauce
- Melt the butter in a 2.5 quart pan.
- Whisk in flour and pour in the milk; continue to whisk until it starts to boil.
- Season with salt and pepper, lower heat to a simmer and cover; continue to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and taste for salt and pepper.
- If it seems too thick, add 1/4 cup more milk; if it's too runny, return to heat and add a tablespoon of butter and whisk in a tablespoon of flour. Set aside until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400.
- Cook the lasagna noodles.
- Grease an 8x11 lasagna dish with butter.
- Spread 1/4-cup of bechamel on the bottom of the dish.
- Layer 3 to 4 lasagna noodles.
- Spoon some meat sauce on top of noodles; then spoon some bechamel sauce on top of meat.
- Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and dot with butter.
- Repeat the layers until all the ingredients have been used up, ending with bechamel sauce for the top layer.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until browned on top and bubbly.
- Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting.
Adapted from The Silver Spoon
D'Onofrio, Clelia and Giovanna Mazzocchi. The Silver Spoon. New York: Phaidon Press, 2005. Print.