Wednesday, 12 December 2012


 This isn't the easiest and quickest dish to make, but it is always very welcome by everybody, most of all kids. A few weeks ago I had a few friends over for lunch: French, Chinese, German. I wanted to cook something typically Italian so I decided for Lasagne. You'll need 2 or 3 hours to make them but believe me, it's worth it. You can even freeze them and use when most convenient.

Ingredients for 6 people:

2 tins of chopped tomatoes ( or 750 ml Passata)
100 g Italian sausage or Pancetta cubes ( the sausage is much better if you find it)
1/2 onion
1 carrot
800 g minced beef (or veal, or half beef and half pork)
1/2 glass white wine
500 g di lasagne all’uovo ( I use the dry De Cecco ones)
500 g mozzarella
bechamel sauce
30 g grated Parmesan
olive oil
1 liter chicken stock

For the bechamel sauce:

1 litre whole milk
a pinch freshly grated nutmeg
50 g butter
50 g plain flour

Slice the mozzarella and put in the fridge to let it dry.

Now make the ragu' alla bolognese:

Heat the olive oil in a hot pan. Grate the onion and carrot before frying together.
Allow the onion to soften before adding the sausage or the pancetta in the middle of the pan and stir. When cooked add the mince. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until all the meat has browned nicely. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol. At this point I usually mince again the cooked meat as in my experience it tastes much better ( here in the UK the minced meat is always too thick).
Then put it back in the pan and add the chopped tomatoes or the passata and allow to dry a bit. Then add some boiling chicken stock and cover. Cook for about 2 hours on a low heat (or until the sauce has dried.)

To make the bechamel sauce, first melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and using a wooden spoon, stir to form a paste. Over a gentle heat add a third of the milk, whisking to prevent any lumps forming. Add the rest of the milk a third at a time, whisking as you go. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Stir and remove from the heat.

For the lasagne, blanch the pasta in salted boiling water and a spoon of olive oil for three minutes, then put on a towel to dry.

Turn on the oven to 180 degrees.

Then start to compose your dish:

Spoon a third of the bechamel sauce into the bottom of a lasagne dish in a layer, then place some of the pasta strips over the top. Follow this with some ragu' sauce, some of the mozzarella slices and cover with bechamel sauce. Sprinkle some Parmesan then start again with the lasagne layer. Repeat these steps until you've used all the ingredients.
The last layer has to be ragu' sauce + bechamel sauce + mozzarella + Parmesan.

Cook for about 30 minutes or until the mozzarella is golden brown.

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