venerdì 26 marzo 2010

Ready to go? I hope so because today I'm going to post one of the most famous and renowned all-time italian classics namely:


It won't be easy but I'm sure you won't regret it!!!


The italian Lasagne are nowadays very common; almost every italian restaurant offers its own version.
There are many different recipes, almost one per region, the ingredients may therefore vary greatly.

Ingredients (4-6 portions):

For the dough:

200g common wheat flour and 200g durum wheat flour;

2 regular eggs (add more if the eggs are small - never ever add water), 1 pinch salt;

For the tomato sauce (ragù alla bolognese):

300g minced beef, 75g minced pork and 75g italian sausage (luganega);

400g chopped tomatoes, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons tomato extract;

1 medium onion, 1 carrot and 1 celery stalk;

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVO) and 1-2 tablespoons butter;

1/2 glass dry white wine, salt, pepper and 1 big laurel leaf;

For the Bechamel:

1 litre milk, 70g butter and 70g flour;

2-3 pinches salt, some freshly grated nutmeg;

Further ingredients:

10-15 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano; some small butter pieces.

Preparation (2-3 hours)

Prepare the dough by mixing together the eggs, the two flours and some salt (this task would be much easier if you own a household kneading machine).
Take care - if you're not able to incorporate the flour in the dough, one additional egg may be necessary.

At the end, the dough should appear uniform and smooth, wrap the dough with a cellophane foil and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Now the sauce...

Finely chop the onion the carrot and the celery stalk, put a stainless-steel pot on high heat, add the olive oil and the butter and, once the butter has almost melted add the chopped stuff.
Add the minced beef and the minced pork, cut the sausage and add its pulp to the sauce together with the laurel leaf and some freshly ground black pepper - gently mix the ingredients.

Allow the minced meat to slightly and uniformly cook and the onion to get soft and very slightly coloured (it will take about 5 minutes - always gently stir).
Add the 1/2 glass wine and, after the wine has evaporated add the tomato chunks the extract -and some salt, allow to cook for 20-30 minutes.

Now, let's prepare the bechamel (besciamella):

Heat the milk (it has to be really hot), put butter & flour in a pot on medium heat while continuously stirring, once the butter has melted completely and you've obtained a smooth dough (take care - don't burn it), lower the heat and gradually add the hot milk while stirring.
After a while (some minutes) the bechamel will begin to slowly boil - add some salt and some grated nutmeg, remove from the stove and allow to cool down (if you want to keep the bechamel's surface as soft as possible, wipe it with a small piece of butter ;-).

The dough again:

Take the dough out of the fridge, sprinkle some flour on the table and begin to flatten the dough on the table using the rolling pin (there are of course also other means like e.g. those machines provided with two counter-rotating flattening rollers), remember - the thinner the better!
Once upon a time, the "sfoglia" (i.e. the dough once flattened) was judged to be thin enough only if a written text could be read through it...
Cut the flattened dough into rectangles (ca. 10cm x 12cm) and dispose the rectangles (a.k.a. lasagne) on the table
(don't forget to generously sprinkle the table with some flour to avoid sticking).

Put a big pot filled with hot water (ca. 5-6 litres), some salt (1-2 tablespoons) and 1 tablespoon olive oil (the oil keeps the lasagne well separated during cooking) on high heat.
Once the water starts to boil, plunge the lasagne (no more than 5 or 6 at a time) and let them cook very shortly (less than one minute), take the lasagne one by one out of the water and dispose them on a wet kitchen towel.

Once all the lasagne are done and disposed on the wet towel, take a well greased oven pan (about 40cm long, 25cm wide and 10cm high), cover its bottom with a small quantity of bechamel & ragù and start laying the first lasagna layer. Cover the following layers with bechamel, ragù and some sprinkled Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Cover the last lasagna layer with bechamel, sprinkled Parmigiano and some small butter pieces (no ragù anymore).

Put the lasagna in the oven (ca. 160°C) and bake for about 30 minutes.

Allow the lasagna to cool-down for at least 10-15 minutes (I know you're hungry but please wait - your well gained lasagna is too hot!!) slice & serve...

And as usual.....buon appetito!!!!!

2 commenti:

  1. Thanks Eugenio!
    My small ones will kiss your feet. However, due to my problem with butter I'll try to do the Bechamel with olive oil instead. It wont be like yours, but anyway I think we'll enjoy it.

  2. Fabrice Raspo1 maggio 2010 04:00

    Many give the Béchamel sauce a French origin: Louis de Béchameil, a courtier of Louis XIV, allegedly gave its name to the Tuscan "Salsa colla" imported earlier to France by Catarina de Medici.

    Still, from a logical point of view because of its consistency, I favor the etymology of "Balsamella" (little balm or liniment), having evolved into "Besciamella" rather than the one of a honored yet misspelled Béchameil/Béchamel.