Signature Dish of Vilco

Lasagne Alla Bolognese


For the noodles:

400 grams all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 bunch of boiled and minced spinach
Otherwise use 125-150 grams of store-bougth dry lasagna noodles

For the ragu':

1 celery stalk
1 white onion, medium size
1 small carrot
2-4 spoons of EVO oil
400 grams of lean beef
400 grams of sausage (pork, pork fat, salt and black or white pepper)
1 glass or 2 of milk, as needed (0,2 to 0,4 liters)
freshly ground black or white pepper

For the bechamel:

75 grams of butter
75 grams of all-purpose flour
0,5 liters of milk

For assembling:

a cup or two of grated parmigiano reggiano


I have found that making your own lasagne isn't that expensive, maybe the opposite. When I'm feel in the mood to knead I make my own lasagne noodles with 2 eggs, 400 grams flour and a fistful of pressed cooked spinach, and some water if necessary to knead it well. And a pinch of salt, obviously. If I'm not in the mood to knead I go to the "pasta fresca" shop and buy uncooked green lasagne, fresh ones, again about 400 grams. If I'm not in the mood to knead nor to go to the pasta fresca shop, I go to the bearby stupidmarket and buy dry lasagne sheets. Since these are dry, I'll be using just half of a 250 grams package instead of 400 grams.

Ragu': finely mince a stalk of celery, a medium sized white onion and a carrot, saute' them in EVO oil over low fire for at least 10 minutes, then add 400 grams of ground lean beef and 400 grams of shredded sausage (just pork salt and black/white pepper). Stir over low fire until the meat gets browned, then add 250 grams of tomato sauce and a glass of white dry wine.

One could add the wine before the tomato and let is smoke away. Bring to a slow boil and let uncovered for about 2 hours and covered for another hour. Since it will soon dry-up, you'll need to keep up the moisture: do this by adding milk. I used both whole and partly defatted milk and I didn't feel much difference. So, the ragu' must be prepared in time to be ready for the assembly of the lasagne dish. Check for the saltyness and add salti f necessari, it depends most on the kind of sausage you have used. Add some freshly round white or black pepper just a minute bifore removing the ragu’ from the fire. In a true bolognese style ragu' there would be some prosciutto, too. I do sometimes use it, other times use mortadella, always varying proportions of other ingredients accordingly.

Bechamel: melt 75 grams of butter and add 75 grams of all purpose flour and mix them well over medium-low fire for at least a couple of minutes, then slowly add about 0,5 litres of cold milk and mix slowly and mix it in well, stir continuously for about 5 minutes always over medium-low fire. By then, the mix should start to thicken and look silky, velutee: when this starts to happen just remove from fire, making sure the butter-flour mix has cooked for at least 7 minutes (2 without milk and 5 with milk).

Meanwhile you should have readied a pot of boiling salted water: toss the lasagne in and let them cook for 2-3 minutes if fresh or 6-10 minutes if dry. Line a oven dish with some bechamel.

Remove the lasagne from the boiling water and lay them over a dry canvas to drain them well, then put a first layer of lasagne on the oven sheet and thinly cover it with bechamel and garnish it with ragu'. Add some grated cheese and proceed with the next layer: lasagne, bechamel, ragu' and grated cheese. Repeat until you run out of ingredients.

Bake in a 375°F oven for about 25 minutes, and use the oven broiler for some more minutes to get a crusty top. If you readied many layers (circa: more than 2 inches thick), allow to cook for 30-35 minutes before broiling the top.

What to say... last time I did this dish it was yesterday. I must ethernally thank Mum for having kept me, as I child, with her in the kitchen while she was cooking dishes like this, so many times that now I can cook ragu' with the same ease with which I ride a bike, or make bechamel as I make coffee.

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