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Lasagne Bolognese Style
Description Lasagne Bolognese Style
Serves 8
Enjoy the best lasagna you have ever had, made with thin layers of spinach noodles, topped with Bolognese sauce and delicate cheese sauce. In Bologna every family has its own interpretation of this classic dish. Light in taste, it has become a favorite with my students. Use the frozen spinach instead of fresh since it will incorporate into the dough much better.
4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon sea salt
Ragu Alla Bolognese:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, peeled, finely minced
1 stalk celery, trimmed & finely minced
1 small yellow onion, peeled & finely minced
2 pounds lean ground veal
1/2 pound finely diced Pancetta (Italian bacon)
1 cup dry red wine
2 cans (16 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (16 ounces) chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Besciamelle (Bechamel) Sauce:
3 cups whole milk
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
6 Tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and puree using food processor or blender. Set aside and let cool completely. Place flour on wooden board and form into a mound. Make a deep well in the center and break eggs into it. Add water, salt and cooked spinach. Use a fork to break up eggs and mix contents of the well. Slowly add flour, beginning at the top of the well so that the walls collapse and blend into the mixture. When flour is almost totally absorbed, begin kneading, pressing with the palms of your hands. Knead dough for about twenty minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic. (If dough is dry, add a few drops of water. If it is sticky, add a sprinkle of flour.) Gather dough into a ball, place in mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for thirty minutes. (To test for readiness, punch dough with your index finger. If it springs back, it is done.)
Cut the dough into small strips two inches by four inches and spread out to dry. Prepare the Bolognese Sauce: In a large eight-quart heavy bottomed, non-reactive stockpot, cook carrot, celery and onion in olive oil at medium heat until onion is transparent. Add pancetta and veal. Cook until meats are lightly brown. Add wine and cook until it evaporates. Add chopped tomatoes and sauce to mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Lower heat and simmer, partly covered, stirring once in a while, for fifty-five minutes until sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning and reserve.
Prepare the Béchamel sauce: Heat milk in a small two-quart saucepan. In a separate pan, melt butter and immediately stir in flour and salt. While whisking mixture, slowly add the hot milk, a little at a time. Allow mixture to thicken at low heat while whisking, about ten minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and nutmeg.
To assemble: Bring water to a boil, add salt then pasta. Boil for four to five minutes. Drain and place pasta in a cold water bath. Drain on cloth towel. Cover the bottom of a deep nine inches by thirteen inches by two inches baking dish with Bolognese sauce. Add enough lasagna noodle strips to cover the bottom evenly. Spread another layer of Bolognese sauce and then the Béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Add another layer of lasagna noodles, Bolognese sauce, Béchamel sauce and cheese. Add a final layer of noodles. Cover with Bolognese sauce, Béchamel sauce and cheese. Cover with plastic wrap then top with aluminum foil. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for forty-five minutes. Remove from oven and let set for ten minutes before cutting and serving.
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