Friday, December 20, 2013

Lasagne Bolognese

So the reason I made the bolognese from yesterday was because I wanted to use it to make lasagne because I was craving lasagne. I daydream about food and then I get obsessed and nothing else tastes good so I have to find a way to satisfy my craving. I'm such a fatso, right?

I shared a white lasagne on my blog last year but I haven't shared a red lasagne yet. And since I have a pasta maker now, I made it with fresh pasta. It was so simple but really delicious; I surprised myself. I definitely recommend making this for guests. Anyone you feed this to will be really impressed (except for maybe vegans and vegetarians). And you can brag and be all, "I made this from scratch with fresh pasta. I'm awesome." And your friends will be like, "Get over yourself," until they take a bite and then they'll be like, "HOLY SH*T. You really are amazing!"
Ingredients [makes a 9"x13" pan]
¾ lb. pasta dough [if you use the recipe I shared previously, just cut the quantities in half]
2 cups bechamel
3 cups bolognese
2 cups shredded cheese (mild, melting cheese like mozzarella, havarti, fontina, gruyere)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
butter or olive oil for greasing.

First things first, make a batch of pasta dough, make some bechamel sauce, and a batch of bolognese.
Once you've got all your main ingredients ready, roll out the pasta dough. If you don't have a pasta maker, you can certainly roll it out by hand. I rolled my pasta out pretty thin - to the 2nd thinnest setting (#8 on the Atlas Marcato). It will feel super papery and delicate so be careful. Once it's boiled, it will get more resilient and easier to work with. Flour the pieces generously and lay on a sheet pan as you make them. Place pieces of waxed paper in between layers if your pieces start to stick.
Cook the pasta in a big pot of generously salted boiling water. Add 2 or 3 sheets of pasta at a time; don't overcrowd the pot. Let the pasta cook for just two or three minutes. When the sheets float, you know they're ready.
Have a big bowl of ice water ready. I had to use apple and gummy bear shaped ice cubes; I only have apple and bear-shaped ice trays in my house.
Scoop out the pasta with a strainer and add it to the ice water. This is just to stop the cooking process and stop the noodles from getting gummy.
Then, drain the pasta sheets and toss them around in olive oil on a large platter or sheet pan. Make sure each noodle is well coated, or else you might get some sticking.
Grease your pan. The quantity of ingredients I listed above will fit in a 9"x13" pan but I used a 9"x9" pan and made a few individual portions in ramekins instead.
Assemble the lasagna by layering bechamel on the bottom. Then, add the pasta, then more bechamel, bolognese, a sprinkle of cheese, and repeat. Cut up the pasta sheets to fit. It's kind of like making a collage or putting together a puzzle.
On top of the final layer of pasta, spread on some more sauce, sprinkle on the last of the cheese, and then add all of the parmesan.
Bake the lasagne at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes. The point is to warm it through and to melt all of the cheese.
Would you look at that?
Serve the lasagne while it's still hot and the cheese is nice and gooey.
So yummy! I want to crawl into my computer and eat this all over again. Make one to eat right now and then make a second to keep in the freezer, ready for those annoying surprise holiday guests that come over without calling first.
Here are the individual-sized ramekins. They were made the same way, layers of noodles, bechamel, bolognese, and cheese. These are so easy and cute.
Once they cooled, I scooped them out, wrapped them in foil, and chucked them in the freezer, to be consumed some time in the future. They can be thawed in the fridge the night before you want to eat them and then warmed in the oven for a few minutes.
Here's the recipe page:

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