Stefano's Ultimate Lasagna

Layered with slow cooked Bolognese and creamy béchamel, this traditional lasagna is rich and decadent. This recipe makes four individual lasagnas or one larger lasagna.


INGREDIENTS

Bolognese sauce
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 pound ground veal
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 ounce) cans pureed tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Béchamel Sauce
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp. flour
5 cups milk
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Assembly
10 to 12 fresh lasagna sheets
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 to 2 tbsp. butter, for buttering the pans


PREPARATION

Bolognese sauce
In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, heat butter and oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and continue to cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

Increase heat to medium high. Add ground meat, salt and pepper. Stir, to break up the meat. Cook until meat browns, about 12 to 15 minutes. Add wine, diced tomatoes and pureed tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, about 45 minutes to 1 hour minutes.

Béchamel Sauce
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir to combine to make a roux. Continue to cook and stir, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, making sure to incorporate the roux into the milk. Continue to whisk mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking frequently, until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and nutmeg.

Assembly
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter baking dishes.

Cook lasagna sheets according to directions on package. (You may need to only blanch them briefly.) Trim sheets as needed to fit 4 individual baking pans (4-inch x 6-inch) or fit 1 large baking pan (9-inch x 13-inch).

Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a spoonful of Bolognese sauce. Add to baking pan in layers: pasta, Bolognese sauce, Parmesan, pasta, béchamel and Parmesan to make 4 layers.

For individual lasagnas: Bake until filling bubbles and top of lasagna is golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.

For one larger lasagna: Cover lasagna with foil. Bake lasagna, covered, for first 30 minutes. Remove foil, and bake uncovered, until filling bubbles and top of lasagna is golden brown, about 30 minutes more. Total cooking time is 1 hour. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.



Yield: 4 to 6 servings.