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Italian Trattoria Lasagna

Italian Trattoria Lasagna

Cook Time Over 1 hr. | Serving Size 8-10

INGREDIENTS

Ragú Meat Sauce

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 pound beef stew meat, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
  • 1/4 pound ground veal
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 6-8 large fresh basil leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Béchamel Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked white pepper

Lasagna

  • 1 pound fresh semolina lasagna noodles
  • Ragu meat sauce
  • Bechamel sauce
  • 2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade

RECIPE NOTES

This style of lasagna comes from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, the home of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Ragú ala Bolognese. It features several layers of thin sheets of homemade pasta layered with hearty meat and creamy béchamel sauces. What you won’t find in this traditional recipe is mozzarella or ricotta cheese, Nonna would not approve!

INSTRUCTIONS

For the ragú:

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté until softened and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the stew meat to the pan, and sauté until starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the pancetta and veal to the pan and use your spoon to break up the chunks. Sauté until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour off almost all of the fat in the pan. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, milk and basil leaves, and stir to combine.
  3. Bring the sauce to a low simmer and cook for about 2 hours until the stew meat is broken down and sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool slightly while assembling the lasagna.

For the béchamel:

  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until incorporated into the butter. Continue whisking until flour smells slightly nutty, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, whisking constantly to ensure a smooth sauce. When all of the milk is incorporated, continue simmering until sauce is thickened, smooth and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes longer. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool slightly while assembling the lasagna.

For the lasagna:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a stockpot full of water to a boil. Carefully dip the lasagna noodles in the water until barely softened and al dente, about 10 seconds. Immediately run under cold water, drain and pat to dry. Set noodles on a baking sheet lined with paper towels, using more paper towels between the layers so they don’t stick.
  2. Spread about 1/4 cup of the meat sauce on the bottom of a deep lasagna dish. Lay down a layer of noodles on top of the sauce, and top with a thin layer of the meat sauce. Lay down another layer of noodles, and top with a thin layer of the béchamel sauce and sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Continue layering in this fashion, alternating the noodles with the meat sauce and white sauce until you run out of ingredients, or reach the top of the dish. Be sure to end with a layer of noodles and a layer of béchamel on top. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the lasagna.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the top of the lasagna is browned, the cheese is melted, and the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. If the top starts to brown too quickly, cover the dish with foil. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes for the lasagna to set before cutting. Garnish with the basil and serve with any leftover sauce.
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