Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lasagne with Bechamel and Ragu













I combined several different lasagna recipes to come up with this one. I much prefer a lasagna with a bechemel sauce rather than one with ricotta and cottage cheese. It is much creamier and is more authentic Itlaian in my opinion. In the past, I have made homemade meat sauce for lasagna, but in this one I just used some ground round and a jar of tomato sauce (I like Bertolli Organic, Olive Oil, Basil and Garlic) to make it much faster and easier. The pictures above show the steps involved (layer of noodles with bechemel, layer of meat sauce, layer of cheese) but I forgot to take a picture of it after it was cooked. Oops! This lasagna can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or even frozen. It makes alot so it's great for a large group too!
What You'll Need:
12 lasagne noodles
1 Lb. ground round
1 jar good tomato sauce
2-3 Tbs. white wine
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups grated parmesean
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
More salt & pepper, to taste
Butter, oil, or spray to coat dish
What You'll Do:
Set at least 5 quarts of water in a large pot over high heat. When it comes to a boil, salt it. Cook lasagne noodles for about 5 minutes. They should be underdone...they will finish cooking in the oven. You do not want them to be mushy. Drain the noodles, then spread them out and allow to rest on paper towels while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
To make the meat sauce: Cook meat over medium until browned. Drain. Add tomato sauce to the meat. Pour the white wine into the jar, swish, and pour into pot. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
To make the Bechamel: In medium saucepan, melt butter over med-lo heat. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes until smooth and golden. Whisk in milk, broth, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. The sauce should be thick enough to cover the back of a spoon...it will thicken more as it sits.
To assemble: Prepare glass casserole dish by smearing some butter, oil, or spray on the bottom. Place a layer of noodles (3 noodles if you are using a 9 X 13 dish) , touching but not overlapping. Cover the noodles with about 1/4 each of the bechamel, meat sauce, mozzarella, parmesean, and a sprinkling of black pepper (also salt if you feel it needs more). Make four layers, ending with parmesean. (Make sure no noodles are left on top without being completely covered in sauces and cheeses or they will get hard on the edges.)
Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, until lasagne is bubbly. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

3 comments:

Jeremy LaBuff said...

Hey Monica, my roommate and I tried this recipe and enjoyed it thoroughly!! We added a little more meat (1/2 lb) and mozarella (1/2 cup) because we just couldn't help ourselves, but the bechamel sauce turned out perfectly :) Also, we spiced up the meat sauce with a pinch of allspice and some dry herbs. Thanks a bunch!

MealsByMonica said...

Glad you liked it Jeremy! I make it for family gatherings and it's always a hit! Good idea on adding spices to the meat sauce. I usually do that too!

The Feller Five said...

I happened upon this recipe when searching for lasagna without ricotta recipes because my 5 year old daughter wont eat ricotta (silly girl). I made it for dinner this evening and it was DELICIOUS!!!!!