giovedì 6 agosto 2009

Simply Delicious Lasagne

Ok, I am saying it myself, but my lasagne are real good! Even my friend who 'doessn't eat beef' asked me a doggy bad to dring some home: if this is not a success, I don't know what is!

I'll share the recipe with you, hope you like them as much.

2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
Celery, 1 stalk
Carrots: 2
Minced beef: 800 gr
Tomato sauce (crushed tomatoes, or passata di pomodoro, in Italian) : 800 ml
Lasagne sheets (dry): 500 gr
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella: 2, diced
For the besciamelle sauce: plain flour, butter (125 gr), milk

Lasagne are easy to make, but they require a bit of time and a bit of patience due to the pretty high number of ingredients. The good thing is that once they are made they are not only delicious, but they tend to keep well, so you can eat them again for few days after you made them. If you don't clen the plate in one go, that is!

In a non-sticky pan heat up some olive oil and a 'nut' of butter and add in: the whole cloves of garlic, the chopped onions, the celery and the carrot. I like to chop the onion on a chopping board and to pass celery and carrot in a food processor until very fine, as I feel they blend better in the sauce this way.

Cook everything until the onions become translucent and then add in your minced beef. Add salt and mix everything. The salt will bring the water out of the beef, making a nice cooking sauce: let everything cook on medium-high temeperature until the meat gains a crispy coating.
At this point, lower the heat, add the tomato sauce, season with salt and let cook. The sauce should boil gently for at least 45 mins.

Tip: It is a good idea to keep the pan off the heat while adding the tomato sauce, to avoid it spraying all over your kitchen

While the sauce cooks, start making the besciamelle.
Put the butter in a pan and melt it on gentle heat: be careful not to let it fry and not to make it turn brown. When it is all melted, add plain flour: you should add as much flour as needed to create a ball that 'cleans' the pan. Then start adding your milk, pouring in very little milk in dfferenet batches, making sure the first batch is incorporated before adding more. This is a tricky phase as if you put too much milk the besciamelle will come out lumpy and impossible to use.

Tip: it is a good idea to use milk at room temperature, and not form the fridge, as this gets absorbed more easily.

Keep adding the milk and stirring until your bechamelle seems to have the right consistency. Add salt and let it cook for about 10 minutes. When ready, you can start layering your lasagne.

In an oven dish oiled with olive oil start layering:
1 layer of pasta
1 layer of tomato sauce
1 layer of bechamelle
sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan

Repeat the layering a few times, finshing off with with a layer of sauce. On the last layer, I prefer not to put mozzarella.

Put your lasagne in the oven, let cook for abuot 45 minutes, enjoy!

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