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My comfort food, beef lasagna

September 19, 2010 4 comments

I LOVE lasagna, it’s my winter comfort food. Considering how cold spring has been lately, I thought I would make lasagna one last time before it gets warmer. A friend of mine, M, gave me this recipe, she found it in an Italian cookbook that she owns call Essentials of Classic Italian cooking by Marcella Hazan. This is not the first time I have made this lasagna and I can say that it is absolutely fantastic! I wouldn’t say its ‘easy’ it’s definitely time-consuming, not something I would make on a school night but definitely on the weekend.

Ingredients for bolognaise sauce:

I tbs of oil

3 tbs of butter

½ cup of chopped onion

2/3 cup of chopped celery (I left this out)

2/3 cup of chopped carrot

2/3 cup of mushrooms (only cause I love mushrooms, this was my addition!)

400g ground beef (not too lean)

1 cup of whole milk

Nutmeg

1 cup of dry white wine

1½ cup canned Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juices.

Directions:

Put oil, butter and onion in pot, cook until onion is translucent, and then add celery, carrot and mushroom. Cook for 2 minutes

Add the ground beef, a large of salt and pepper. Crumble meat with fork and cook until beef has lost its raw red colour

Add milk and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add about 1/8 tsp nutmeg and stir

Add the wine, let simmer until evaporated, then add the tomatoes. When tomatoes begin to bubble, turn heat down and cook uncovered at the merest simmer for a long, long time (no less than 3 hours!). Stir from time to time add ½ cup of water whenever necessary.

Bechamel Sauce Ingredients (make just before you need it, not ahead of time)

60g butter, chopped

1/3 cup plain flour

4½ cups of milk

75 grams parmesan cheese, finely grated

¼ tsp salt

Good pinch ground nutmeg

Directions for béchamel sauce:

Put milk in a saucepan, turn heat to medium and bring to verge of a boil

While heating milk, put butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan and turn heat to low. When melted, add flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook while stirring constantly for about 2 minutes, do not allow flour to colour. Remove from heat

Add the hot milk to the flour/butter mixture, no more than 2 tbs at a time. Stir steadily and thoroughly. Once the first 2 tbs have been incorporated, repeat this process 2tbs at a time until ½ cup has been incorporated. Then you can begin adding milk ½ cup at a time until all incorporated

Place the pan over low heat, add salt, and cook stirring constantly until sauce is thickened

I could have seriously eaten this out of the saucepan. It was incredibly yummy!

Lasagna:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees

Thickly smear the bottom of your lasagna pan with butter and 1 tbs of béchamel. Line bottom of pan with one layer of lasagna sheet

Combine bolognaise and béchamel sauces and spread a coating on the lasagna sheet. Sprinkle some grated parmesan, then add another layer of lasagna sheet.  Repeat the procedure of spreading sauce and parmesan and lasagna sheet. Leave enough sauce to spread a thin layer on top at the end, sprinkle with parmesan and dot with butter. (This can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated)

I ‘may’ have left it a little late in the oven (whoops!). The top was a little browner than what I wanted, but it was crunchy and good!

I wanted to take a photo of this, however, ‘The Mother’ couldn’t resist and tried some (hence the little corner missing!). The beef lasagna was divine, it was delicious! I know my brother, F, is hanging for some – will bring some over for you! ‘The Mother’ liked it so much that he had another serving! It was deliciously scrumptious and perfect for a cold night!