Lasagna is the ultimate in comfort food and completely adaptable, so I took a few ingredients you might already have lying around the house, and popped them into this dish. Feel free to add in your own favorite left overs to this decadent, crowd pleaser of a dish.
INGREDIENTS (BOLOGNESE RAGU)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
3/4 cup carrots finely diced
3/4 cup celery stalks, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup pancetta or bacon, diced
1 pound beef chuck, ground
1 pound pork shoulder, ground
1 cup dry white wine
sauvignon blanc is a good option
1 1/2 cups milk
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 cup beef stock
INGREDIENTS (TO SERVE)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
Place a large saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter in the oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic with a good pinch of salt and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often. Increase the heat to high and add the meat and pancetta a third at a time, stirring and breaking lumps with a spoon between each addition. Adding the meat gradually allows the water to evaporate – which is key if you want to brown your meat and not boil it (this whole process will take about 15-20 minutes). Turn heat down to medium and cook for about 15 minutes, letting the meat get thoroughly brown (don’t worry about crispy bits in the pan) but not burnt.
Pour the white wine into the sauce pan. With a wooden spoon, scrape all the brown bits stuck to the bottom of your pan. Push the meat all around to make sure you scrape it all off. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, to let the alcohol cook off. Add milk, diced tomatoes (with liquid), 1 teaspoon salt and a good grinding of pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower to the lowest heat and let simmer very slowly, half-covered, for 2 hours, stirring from time to time. In the end, the sauce should be more oil- than water-based and thick like oatmeal. Season to taste.
When ready to serve, mix in the butter, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and about a 1/2 cup of pasta water (or some hot water). Set aside for assembling lasagna.
HOW TO MAKE BECHAMEL:
1 pint milk
2 sprigs of parsley
1/2 small onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon chili flake
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup grated parm
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Bring the milk and everything else except for the butter, flour, and parmigiano to a simmer.
In a separate sauce pan, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir until doughy and smelling a bit nutty (about one minute). Strain in the milk about a half-cup at a time, whisking to incorporate with the butter and flour mix. It should be smooth and velvety, not chunky or too thick. If it is, just add some more milk to thin it out.
1 pound lasagna strips (enough for three layers)
4 balls burrata (or about 2 cups regular mozzarella)
1/4 cup grated parm (or any other hard cheese, I sometimes use gouda)
1 cup basil, julienned
INGREDIENTS (ROASTED TOMATOES)
13-14 roman tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
Pre heat oven to 425.
Place the tomatoes face up across two baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of thyme. Roast for 30 minutes, turn in the pan, and then for another 30 minutes.
Pre heat the oven to 375.
In a pyrex dish, place a layer of noodles, a ladle of ragu, a ladle of béchamel, a third of burrata, and a layer of herb roasted tomatoes, add the basil, and cover with a 1/4 of the bechamel. Repeat three times, and finish with the remaining bechamel and grated parm.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbling. Turn the broiler on and bake for another 5 minutes, or until brown and crunchy on top. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Enjoy!