In Italy, small portions of lasagna are customarily served as a first course, but this hearty dish would also make an excellent main dish for four. The combination of a creamy white sauce, Parmesan cheese and a rich meat sauce - ragù bolognese - is typical of Bologna.
- For Ragu:
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup diced carrots
- 1/3 cup diced celery
- 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
- 6 ounces pancetta, coarsely ground or finely chopped
- 3/4 pound coarsely ground pork butt or shoulder
- 6 ounces coarsely ground veal
- 2 cans plum tomatoes, drained and chopped, plus juice from 1 can
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- For Sauce:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk, heated almost to boil
- Salt and ground white pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pound dried lasagna noodles
FOR RAGU: In a deep pot over low heat, warm the oil. Add the carrots and celery and sauté until the edges of the celery become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until almost translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Then add the pork and veal and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until very thick, 2-2 1/2 hours. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
FOR SAUCE: Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour until blended, then gradually whisk in the hot milk. Simmer, whisking constantly and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan with a spatula as necessary to avoid burning, until the raw flour flavor dissipates, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt, white pepper and nutmeg.
TO ASSEMBLE: Cook lasagna noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain then rinse under cold water.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread 1/2 cup ragù over the bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish. Arrange a single layer of the noodles on top, do not overlap. Spread 1/3 cup of the white sauce over noodles. Top with another 1/2-2/3 cup ragù. Sprinkle with 3-4 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Repeat layering with the noodles, sauces and cheese. Arrange a final layer of noodles on top. Spread with white sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until sauces bubble and top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into pieces and transfer to warm individual plates.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
632 calories; 33g total fat; 87mg cholesterol; 394mg sodium; 56g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 29g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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