So for this weeks challenge, I got to whip out this baby!
Mother sauces. According to traditional french cuisine, there are 5 mother sauces, of which all other sauce (small sauces) are derived from.
For this lasagne, I used a Béchamel, and a Bolognese which is a small sauce derived from Tomato Sauce. This is a “plan ahead” recipe, as it will take you many hours to prepare the Bolognese. I’ll be honest, this is the best lasagna I’ve ever made. It was amazing how creamy it was without the addition of any mozzarella or ricotta, which is the way most Americans prepare this dish. It made it so much lighter, while still being very much comfort food.
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup butter1 large yellow onion, finely and evenly diced
4 small carrots finely diced
4 stalks celery heart finely diced
4 garlic cloves, very finely diced
4.5 oz diced pancetta (¼-inch cubes)
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground veal
3/4 lb ground pork
1 cup red wine (you can use white if you prefer)
2 cups milk
1 28-oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes, diced with liquid
1 cup beef stock
1 bay leaf
Heat butter and oil in large stock pot over medium heat, add celery, onions, carrots & garlic and big pinch of salt. After about 5 minutes when veggies begin to soften, add diced pancetta and sauté for another 10 minutes.
Increase heat to high and add meat in small portions, allowing to cook before adding the next. Stir and break into very small pieces after each meat addition. Keep cooking until no pink remains and some caramelization starts to happen in the bottom of the pot. When this starts to happen you can lower the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes.
Now pour in your wine and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Get all those good brown bits mixed into everything. Cook for about 2 or 3 more minutes and then you can add the milk, broth, tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and pepper & bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 4 hours, with the pot half covered, stirring occasionally. Towards the end, if the sauce seems too thick, you can add some more broth or water, even a splash of wine. I ended up adding all three, but that is mainly because I left the lid off the entire cooking time. You can add more salt and/or pepper, tasting as you go along. Don’t forget to discard the bay leaf after the sauce is complete.
Béchamel sauce ingredients:
1/2 c butter
1/2 c flour
4 c milk
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp salt
pepper & nutmeg to taste
Begin by making a roux. Melt butter in a heavy bottom medium sauce pan, add flour and whisk together. Cook for about a minute, whisking continuously. Add milk VERY SLOWLY & STIRRING CONSTANTLY. If you add cold milk too quickly, the roux will seize and your sauce will not work. After the first 2 cups are added, you can start adding the next 2 cups a little faster, still stirring constantly. Add the garlic, salt, pepper & nutmeg. Bring to a low simmer, stirring very frequently, for about 8-10 minutes.
Now it’s time to assemble!
Remaining ingredients for lasagna:
5 sheets of fresh pasta
1 1/2 c shredded parmesan & pecorino cheeses
Preheat oven to 400°
In a 9×13 baking dish (glass or ceramic, not metal), spread 1/4 c of béchamel sauce in the bottom of the dish. Then place 1 sheet of pasta, topped with 1 c of bolognese sauce, drizzle 1/2 c béchamel sauce and sprinkle with one quarter of the cheese mixture. Repeat 3 more times, and top with the final, 5th sheet of pasta. Smooth béchamel sauce over the top layer, and sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly. Place in over and cook for 35-40 minutes, checking to make sure to isn’t overcooking.
Allow to cool slightly before cutting, so that lasagne will hold it’s shape.