Today is National Lasagne Day, and what better way to celebrate than two classic Italian sauces used to make lasagne.
This recipe comes from Chef Dana Klitzberg who learned to make it while living in Rome for nearly a decade.
Homemade lasagna is truly a labor of love, meant to bring the family together as they roll out the pasta, makes the red and white sauces, grate the cheese, build the lasagna and enjoy. Though most people use ricotta in their lasagna, the original white sauce is actually a rich besciamella. Parmigiano adds a spiciness that perfectly complements the meaty ragu.
Next time you make lasagne using your favorite recipe, substitute Chef Dana’s hearty Bolognese Sauce for your sauce, and her Besciamella Sauce for the ricotta cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 1⁄2 cups milk, heated
- Freshly ground pepper (nutmeg optional)
- -Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes.
- -Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens.
- -Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
- -To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper or plastic wrap right on the surface of the sauce.
Makes about 2 cups
Ragu alla Bolognese
- -1⁄4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
- -1 Small yellow onion, peeled and minced
- -1 Rib celery, trimmed and minced
- -1/2 Medium carrot, peeled, trimmed, and minced
- -2-3 Slices prosciutto di Parma, finely chopped
- -2 Chicken livers, finely chopped
- -1 1⁄2 lbs. Ground meat: best is mixture of beef, veal, and pork
- Freshly ground pepper
- -1/2 Cup dry white wine
- -1 Cup hot milk
- -1 Cup veal or beef broth
- -1 28-oz. Can plum tomato pureé
- – Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring with wooden spoon, until translucent, about 3 minutes.
- – Add celery and carrots and cook, stirring, 4 minutes more.
- – Add prosciutto and chicken livers and cook, stirring, until livers are barely cooked (still a little pink), about 1 minute.
- – Add ground meat, season to taste with salt & pepper, and cook, breaking up meat with spoon, until just cooked, about 5 minutes more – do not brown, as this will cook the meat past the ‘tender’ stage.
- – Add wine to pot and cook until evaporated, about 3 minutes.
- – Reduce heat to medium-low, add hot milk, and cook until evaporated, about 10 more minutes.
- – Meanwhile, heat broth and tomato pureé together in a medium saucepan until hot, then add to meat mixture in the pot. Reduce heat to low, and gently simmer, stirring occasionally for 2 1⁄2-3 hours.
- – Season to taste, at the end, with salt and pepper.
(Makes approx. 5 cups)