07 August 2009

Recipe for Lasagne with Traditional Ragu

Recipe for Lasagne with Traditional Ragu

As promised, here is the meat lasagne for the committed carnivores out there.  It uses an old ragù recipe from Bologna.

The ragù

4tbsp                Butter, or olive oil

700g                 Lean beef, minced

200g                 Chicken livers, finely chopped

140g                 Unsmoked bacon or uncooked ham

2                      Carrots, finely chopped

1                      Onion, finely chopped

4                      Celery sticks, finely chopped

3tsp                  Tomato purée

500ml               White wine

500ml               Beef stock

½ tsp                Steenbergs Fairtrade black pepper

½ tsp                Steenbergs Fairtrade nutmeg powder

Béchamel sauce

1 litre                Organic whole milk

2                      Steenbergs Organic bay leaves

¼                     Onion, finely chopped

¼ tsp                Steenbergs Fairtrade nutmeg powder

50g                   Organic butter

50g                   Organic plain flour, sieved

For the lasagne

400g                 Fresh lasagne pasta or lasagne sheets

3 big balls         Mozzarella, cut into small cubes

Salt & pepper to taste

1tbsp                Grated Parmesan

2tbsp                Butter

Preheat the oven to 180oC.  Prepare your lasagne dish by lightly greasing the sides with a sunflower oil.

To make the ragù: Cut the bacon or ham into very small pieces and brown them gently in a small saucepan with about ½ oz of butter.  Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté them until lightly brown which will take about 10 – 15 minutes.  When browned, add the beef mince and turn it over and over until it browns evenly throughout. Now add the chicken livers. And after 2 -3 minutes add the tomato purée and the white wine.  Add the seasonings of pepper and nutmeg; you can add salt if you want but you must take into account the saltiness of the bacon or ham.  Add the meat stock, cover the pan and simmer gently for about 40 minutes.

To make the béchamel sauce: pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed non-stick saucepan.  Add the bay leaves, onion and organic Fairtrade nutmeg powder and gently bring to the boil and then take and some pepper and nutmeg.  Layer over this about a third of the ragu.  Continue to layer with pasta, cheese, ragu and then pasta until all the ingredients have been used up.  Finish with a layer of pasta and spread the remaining béchamel sauce over the top and dot some butter over this.  Cover with foil.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking until bubbling which should take another 15 minutes or so.  Remove from the oven and serve.off the heat just as the bubbles start appearing.  In a separate saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour.  Beat well with a wooden spoon and cook for 2 minutes.  Now this is the bit to be patient with, to ensure that you get a good smooth sauce.  Add a little bit of the milk to the flour mixture and combine really well.  When all the milk has been absorbed and the lumps are gone, add a little bit more.  Continue with this until all the milk has been added, blending in with your.

Blanch the pasta in salted boiling water for 3 minutes.  Drain.

Spread half the béchamel sauce over the bottom of the lasagne dish.  Layer one-quarter of the pasta over the sauce, overlapping them slightly.  Spread the pasta with half of the mozzarella and some of the grated parmesan.