Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Italian Lasagna Recipe

Home cooked lasagna is a little time consuming, but when it is all done it is worth it.  This lasagna has homemade noodles, a bechamel sauce instead of ricotta, and a slow simmered ragu that makes the dish special.  It is topped with mozzarella which turns golden brown when done.  It is a beautiful dinner and it can feed at least 8 people.

2 16 oz cans of whole tomatoes
leafs of about 10 sprigs of fresh basil
3 tbl fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/3 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 anaheim chili pepper, deseeded and diced
1 lb ground beef, you could also used ground lamb, ground italian sausage, or ground turkey.
1 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tbl whole milk or half and half
2 cups of your favorite merlot
1 eggplant, diced (optional)
3 tbl olive oil
Double the bechamel recipe
1 recipe of fresh semolina pasta
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 cup grated mozzarella

First start the tomato sauce.  Heat your sauce pot on medium high heat.  Add the olive oil and add the ground beef, let it cook without stirring it for about 3 or 4 minutes so it gets a nice crust.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little more than half of the garlic and all of the onions and cook until the onions become translucent.  Add the mushrooms, half of the parsley, anaheim pepper and the egg plant. Reseason and stir to combine all of the ingredients and let cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Add the wine and and let it simmer.

In a blender add the tomatoes with their juice, basil, the rest of the parsley, the rest of the garlic. Blend until smooth and add to the pot.  Season once again, and then bring to a gentle boil.  Once it comes to a boil crack the top and reduce the heat so the liquid can reduce.

Let it cook this way four about 4 hours or until the sauce has thickened.  Once it has thickened add the milk and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes.  Turn off heat and top the pot.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare your pasta dish by oiling the bottom and sides of your dish.  Then spoon a thin layer of the tomato sauce covering the bottom of the dish.  Put a layer of pasta down, and then spread a layer or the bechamel on.  Add another layer or tomato sauce on and repeat the process.

When you are finished you should have used all of the tomato sauce, more than half of the bechamel and you should have your lasagna dish filled to the top.  I did about 4 or five layers.

You should have a layer of tomato sauce on top of your dish.  Spread the mozzarella over the top of the lasagna.

Cover the top with tin an oiled sheet of tin foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake until the top is golden brown.

Remove the lasagna and let it rest four about 15 minutes

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