Friday, October 30, 2015

Lasagna Bolognese

Rich, hearty, cheesy lasagna layered with a delicious tomato meat sauce and a creamy white bechamel - this take on an amazing pasta dish is a must try recipe!  Most recipes for lasagna are commonly made with a ricotta filling but I am not a big ricotta fan. The texture of the cheese just does not appeal to me, so I had pretty much been missing out on the deliciousness that is lasagna for years and years. It was one of those foods that I really wanted to like and so I would keep trying it any time that I had the chance but it just never worked for me.  Eventually somewhere along the way I found the idea of substituting the ricotta filling with a bechamel sauce.  The bechamel sauce is so creamy and smooth and makes the lasagna so rich and delicious.  The tomato sauce in this recipe could be substituted for any tomato sauce that you love - particularly if you wanted to change to a vegetarian option.  However, if you do eat meat I would highly recommend this recipe even though it is a bit time consuming. It is so flavorful and worth every bit of effort!  I really can't say enough about how good this lasagna is.  It is the perfect dinner for a cozy weekend evening or it is a huge crowd pleaser at pot luck parties.  And don't forget since you already have a huge pile of carbs on your plate, you might as well throw two giant pieces of garlic bread on there too.... what?!? there is vegetables in the sauce so it all balances out, ha!

Lasagna Bolognese

Red Sauce
1 lb ground beef
1 lb bulk sausage of your choice
1 small onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 carrot, diced finely
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 29 oz cans tomato sauce
1 29 oz can whole tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp white sugar
dried or fresh basil, oregano, parsley to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large heavy duty pot, brown the ground beef and sausage and break into very small pieces. Add the chopped onion, garlic, carrot, and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add all of the tomato products and the sugar. Carefully break up the whole tomatoes into chunks using a wooden spoon as the sauce cooks. Season the sauce with herbs and salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered on low for at least one hour. Check the seasoning before assembling the lasagna.

Bechamel/White Sauce
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour and spices. Cook this for about a minute and then whisk in the milk about a cup at a time. Whisk constantly bringing the mixture back up to a boil and cook until the sauce is thick.  Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.

1 box lasagna noodles
16 oz mozzarella cheese (grated)

You can either use the noodles that you need to boil before baking the lasagna or the no boil noodles that cook while the lasagna is in the oven.  Just follow the instructions on the box to prepare the noodles.

To assemble the lasagna, make the following layers in a 9x13 greased or disposable cassarole dish: red sauce on the bottom, noodles, red sauce, white sauce, mozzarella cheese, noodles, red sauce, white sauce, mozzarella cheese, noodles, white sauce, red sauce, mozzarella cheese. Cover with tin foil and bake @ 350 for 30 mins. Uncover and bake another 20 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. The whole dish can be frozen before baking or after baking  and reheated in the oven.  Note that you will most likely have extra red sauce that you can save for another dish.


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