Authentic Italian lasagne

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A properly-made lasagne is a dish of consummate beauty and one of the most beloved dishes in the world.  Making the effort to give this dish a little bit of love really shows and lets the simple dish shine.  Enjoy for family dinners, rainy days and when you need a bit of comfort food.

Ingredients:

For the Ragù

  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 small stalk of celery
  • 2 tbls Extra Virgin olive oil
  •  
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 500 grams beef mince
  • 350 grams pork mince
  • ½ glass of white wine
  • salt
  • ground pepper

For the béchamel

  • 1 liter of milk
  • 100 grams butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • A tiny pinch of nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of ground pepper

One packet of the best quality pasta sheets you can get.

Method:

The Ragù

Heat a healthy glug of olive oil in a large pan, meanwhile cut the carrot, onion and celery into small pieces.  Cook them over a low heat until they are soft (roughly 5 minutes).

Turn the heat to medium-high and add the beef and pork mince. When the meat has browned and the liquid it releases has evaporated, add the white wine and stir. When the wine has evaporated, add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper.

Stir again to mix the ingredients and let them cook on a low heat for at least an hour.

Tip: The longer a ragù cooks, the tastier it becomes. Authentic Italian sauce would literally stew all day. If you would like to stew yours I highly recommend bringing out the slow cooker.

The béchamel

Warm the milk in a saucepan, but don’t let it boil.

In a separate pot, cube the butter and melt it over low heat. As soon as it has liquefied take it off the heat and gradually whisk in the flour, making sure that no lumps form.

Place the pan with the butter and flour mixture back on a low heat and add your warm milk, salt, nutmeg and ground pepper. Stir rapidly with the whisk until it thickens and becomes smooth.

Pasta

Cook the pasta according to the packet’s instructions.

Laying up

Give a 20cm x 30cm casserole pan a light spray with cooking oil.

Pour a fine layer of beschamel on the bottom of your casserole dish.

Cover it with a layer of ragu.

Place your pasta rectangles side-by-side on top of the ragu until you have covered it completely. Don’t allow them to overlap too much – you don’t want any double layers of pasta.

Repeat the process in the same order as above. On the very last layer of pasta place a slightly thicker layer of bechamel and ragù as it is the layer most exposed to the hot air of the oven and tends to dry up a little. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top, or between the layers if you like, but this is not a requirement.

Place your pasta rectangles side-by-side on top of the ragu until you have covered it completely. Don’t allow them to overlap too much – you don’t want any double layers of pasta.

Repeat the process in the same order as above until you reach 5 or 6 layers of pasta. On the very last layer of pasta place a slightly thicker layer of bechamel and ragù as it is the layer most exposed to the hot air of the oven and tends to dry up a little. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top, or between the layers if you like, but this is not a requirement.

Place the casserole in a pre-heated oven at 200° C for about 25 minutes. You will know the lasagna is ready when you can see a golden crust around the outside edges on the top layer.

Let your gorgeous lasagne rest for a couple of minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!