lasagna-2

This lasagna is a bit time consuming, especially if you make everything on the same day.  The bolognese sauce can freeze, so it’s perfect if you want to make it ahead of time.

lasagna

1 pound flat lasagna noodles
3 cups bolognese sauce (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
bechamel sauce (recipe follows)
6  ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
12 basil leaves

1.  Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Stir in lasagna noodles and pull off heat.  Let soak for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  (This is a good time to start the bechamel sauce.)
2.  Drain noodles and rinse under cold water.  If any of the noodles stick, simply hold them under cold running water and pull them apart slowly.
3.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Stir fennel seeds into bolognese sauce.  Spread a thin layer of bolognese sauce in the bottom of a 13×9″ casserole dish.  Layer with lasagna sheets, 1/4 cup of the bechamel sauce, followed by 1/3 cup of bolognese sauce.  Repeat layers four more times.  Top with remaining sauces, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted and bubbly.  Garnish each piece with a basil leaf.

bolognese sauce

3 strips of bacon, chopped
2 shallots, minced
2-3 stalks celery,  finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
5 cloves garlic
5 scallions (white and green parts), chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cups milk
1 cup of grape juice, plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (but you could always use red wine, instead)
1  4 ounce can of tomato paste
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 teaspoon dry rosemary
2  28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes

1.  In a large pot, over medium-low heat, cook shallot, carrot, and celery until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add in scallions and garlic.  Cook for a minute more.
2.  Add pork and beef, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up pieces.  Add in 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Cook until meat is cooked and browned, about 10 minutes.
3.  Increase heat to high.  Add in milk, and stir, almost constantly, until it is mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes.
4.  Add grape juice and vinegar (or red wine), and cook, stirring often, until juice is mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes.
5.  Stir in tomato paste, thyme, and rosemary.  Pour in cans of crushed tomato, and simmer on low for up to 2 hours on very low heat, stirring occasionally, to ensure it doesn’t burn.  Freeze any leftovers.

bechamel sauce

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper

1.  Melt butter over low heat.  Stir in flour, raise heat to medium low and cook for one to two minutes.
2.  Whisk in milk, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Whisk until thickened.

lasagna-1