I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lasagne Bolognese

My favorite version of lasagne by far is Lasagne Bolognese. It is different because there is no ricotta or (gasp!) cottage cheese in the dish. Instead the creaminess comes from a sauce called bechemel sauce. The cheese in this dish is exclusively parmesan. It takes a while to make lasagne this way but the payoff is huge. I modify the traditional recipe just a little in that I add fresh tomatoes to the lasagne just before baking.

Lasagne Bolognese

Meat sauce

2 T butter
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
8 oz ground beef
16 oz Italian sausage (or 8 oz sausage, 8 oz ground veal)
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups white wine
salt and pepper

Melt butter in a pan. Chop the carrot, celery, onion and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Next process the tomatoes just a little in the food processor so that they are nicely chopped. Sautee the onions/carrot/celery/garlic in butter until soft. Set the tomatoes aside until later. Then add the meats. Brown the meats, all the while using a potato masher to mash up the meat into fine particles. Add the milk and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes until the liquid has evaporated. Add the wine and cook for another 30 minutes or so until the liquid has evaporated. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer abotu 10 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Bechemel Sauce

4 T unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk

Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add flour and stir until well combined. Gradually add milk. Bring to a low boil and stir constantly for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. The final volume of the sauce should be about 3 1/2 cups. Add a little salt to taste. Cool for a while on the counter.

Assembling the lasagne

Use olive oil to oil the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch pan. Take another 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes and chop them up in the food processor. Take about a cup of these chopped tomatoes and put them in the bottom of the pan. Lay down a layer of lasagne noodles. On top of the noodles spread 1 cup of the meat sauce and about 1 cup of the fresh tomato sauce. Spread about a cup of bechemel and put on a very healthy amount of grated parmesan cheese. You will need about 2 cups grated parmesan cheese for the dish. Keep making layers in this way until you are almost out of sauce. The last layer will be meat sauce, tomato sauce and cheese.


Preheat your oven to 425. Cover the lasagne pan with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Raise the temperature to 450 and remove tin foil. Bake uncovered for another 10 - 15 minutes until the top browns and a lot of the liquid has evaporated. Let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes before slicing.