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Lasagna Bolognese

Lasagna Bolognese

Fall is by far my most favorite time to cook. The recipes are so warm, hearty, and comforting. Italian is kind of the epitome of all these descriptors. I found this recipe for Lasagna Bolognese in my Fall Entertaining edition of Cooks Illustrated.

Bolognese is different from the Americanized lasagna we typically come across. Rather than using mozzarella or ricotta as a filler, it has a creamy Bechamel sauce made from a mixture of milk and flour. It was absolutely delicious, with perfect portions of meat, cheese, and creamy sauce.

Ingredients:

Meat Sauce:

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

1 medium celery, chopped

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 ounces ground beef

8 ounces ground pork

8 ounces ground veal

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups white cooking wine

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bechamel Sauce:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup flour

4 cups whole milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

Noodles and Cheese:

1 package “no-boil” lasagna noodles

2 cups parmesan, grated

Recipe:

Process chopped carrot, celery, and onion in food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl.

Chop whole tomatoes in food processor until finely chopped.

Heat butter in large, deep pot over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion and stir to coat. Cook for about five minutes, stirring every now and then.

Lasagna Bolognese

Add ground meats and cook for about a minute, using a large spoon to break up meat into small pieces.

Lasagna Bolognese

Add milk and simmer to cook for 20 to 30 minutes, continuing to break up meat with spoon. Add white wine and simmer for 20-30 minutes more.

Lasagna Bolognese

Stir in tomato paste. Add chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until meat sauce thickens. Let cool afterwards.

Lasagna Bolognese

As the meat sauce simmer, melt butter for Bechamel sauce in medium to large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for one to two minutes, whisking the entire time. In small batches, whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, continuing to whisk. Add salt, reduce heat to medium/low. Simmer for ten minutes, stirring constantly. (Make sure milk doesn’t burn at bottom of pan!) Transfer to another bowl and let cool.

Add 3/4 cup Bechamel sauce to meat sauce and stir. Cover lasagna noodles with hot water and let soak for about five minutes. Remove noodles and place on paper towels. Spray 13 in. by 9 in. baking dish with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

To prepare lasagna, pour about 1 cups meat sauce in baking dish. Even out with spatula. Place three noodles on top, close together, but not touching.

Lasagna Bolognese

Spread 1 1/4 cups meat sauce over noodles, (not entire pan, just to the edge of the noodles). Pour 1/3 cup Bechamel sauce over meat sauce.

Lasagna Bolognese

Sprinkle 1/2 cup parmesan on top. Repeat layering of noodles, meat sauce, bechamel, and cheese, until you come to the final layer of noodles.

Lasagna Bolognese

Add remaining Bechamel, then remaining parmesan.

Lasagna Bolognese

Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray, cover lasagna dish, and bake for 30 minutes.

Lasagna Bolognese

Take off cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool for 15 minutes, slice, and enjoy!

Lasagna Bolognese

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Breakfast BLT

 

Vegetarian
Fresh and Filling

 

I found this recipe in a Marie Claire cookbook called Breakfast. I molded it to our needs, as our kitchen was not stocked with all ingredients. Below is the original recipe. The asterisks highlight where ingredient substitutions were made. This recipe was a refreshing substitution to the habitual breakfast of bacon and eggs. You may also disregard the meat to make it vegetarian-friendly.

A few suggestions:

1.  Be mindful of how much balsamic is used. It has a very strong taste that almost turns bitter on your tongue rather than sweet.  The bread acts as a sponge, meaning it is quick to absorb.

2. Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients to your liking. Have a hankering for prosciutto or goat cheese? Use those instead of the mortadella and provolone.

3. If you don’t have time to roast the tomatoes for 40 minutes, you can also broil them after roasting for 10 minutes. I broiled mine for about 2 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.

Recipe (Serves 4)

4 fresh tomatoes

1 Garlic bulb, halved

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 handful fresh basil leaves 

1 loaf crusty bread ** I used sourdough **

8 slices provolone ** I used crumbled feta **

8 slices mortadella

2 handfuls arugula

balsamic vinegar, for drizzling

** I added fresh snipped chives **

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put tomatoes and garlic in roasting pan a drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 40 minutes. (Or, as mentioned above, roast for ten and broil for two). Add basil leaves and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. (If using broil option, simply place basil leaves in hot pan upon taking out and let them sizzle in it for a few minutes).

Cut four slices of thick bread and lightly toast both sides (in toaster or oven at 400 degrees). Peel the roasted garlic and spread onto toast. Top with cheese, mortadella, arugula, basil, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with the remaining garlic, if you have any, and drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic. Garnish with fresh chives.

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