Everyone loves lasagna, it’s filling and perfect for large dinner. This recipe takes a spin on it by using a classic Bolognese sauce and ricotta cheese making each bite a literal festival of flavors and textures in your mouth. This is a go-to for me for Christmas or whenever guests come over that I want to impress. While the cooking time is a bit of a commitment, it’s worth every slow simmering hour and if you stick to the directions, it’s pretty fool proof!
I first made this dish using a recipe from the amazing Martha Stewart. It was such a hit I added it to my list of staple meals. Over the years, I have made changes that expedite the process and adjustments that cut down on prep and lighten up on the butter and cheese. I promise you won’t miss them!
This dish is a slam dunk, I know you will love it!
Cooking Time Alert: This sauce cooks for 3 hours and the lasagna - once assembled - for 1 hour, so plan ahead. You can easily make this the day before you need it and keep it in the fridge until it's time to cook it.
What Do I Need?
2 carrots, peeled and chopped fine
2 stalks of celery, chopped fine
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 T Butter
2lbs ground veal
2Ibs ground beef
32oz dry red wine
18oz tomato paste
3 cups beef stock
2 egg yolks
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
¼ tsp nutmeg
S & P
16oz fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/4” rounds
Finely chop your carrots, celery, and large onion. Heat a large saucepan, add a healthy drizzle of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium/high heat, when butter is melted add your carrots, celery, and onion. Cook until the onion is golden and tender, about 5 – 7 minutes. Next add your beef and veal and cook until lightly browned, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go, this will take about 10 – 12 minutes. Next add your 32oz of milk, bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat and allow to cook, simmering lightly for an hour. In this hour your liquids should reduce by almost half. Be sure to give it a little stir here and there.
While your sauce is cooking down, get started on your cheese filling. In a medium sized glass or metal bowl whisk your ricotta cheese, egg yolks, ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, `1/4 tsp of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk well, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the lasagna.
When your milk has reduced by about half, add in 32oz of a dry red wine, 18oz of tomato paste, three cups of beef stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Raise heat and bring to a boil mixing all the ingredients well for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to cook down for an hour or until the liquids have reduced again by about half.
When your sauce is done remove it from heat. Pre-heat the over to 400 degrees and butter a 9 X 13 X 3” baking dish, the deeper the better, I love and use the Pampered Chef stoneware collection .
Bring a large pot of salted water with a tablespoon of olive oil to a boil and lay out a fiber free kitchen/tea towel on your counter or table. When your water is at a rolling boil add 3 – 4 lasagna noodles at a time and allow them to cook for about 2 minutes, using tongs, remove from water and lay flat on your towel. Continue until all your noodles are cooked. Don’t panic if you run out of room and need to lay the noodles on top of each other, they won’t stick. The important thing is that you lay them mostly flat.
Now it’s time to assemble your lasagna! Grab your baking dish and spread a ½ cup of sauce on the bottom, next layer your noodles on top of the sauce, I lay mine vertically and then one horizontal across the bottom, you can break them to fit perfectly. Next add a cup of sauce and spoon a layer of your cheese mix on top, I use my hands to move the cheese all over – the spoon just doesn’t cut it here, next add another layer of noodles and repeat with a cup of sauce and the remainder of your ricotta mixture, now more noodles, the remainder or your sauce and top with your sliced mozzarella rounds.
Bake at 400 degrees for one hour. If your top starts to brown, cover loosely with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.
When done cooking, allow the lasagna to sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This helps it maintain it's shape on the plate.
Take Note: When cooking this in a 3" deep lasagna pan, your lasagna will be built up to the rim, I cook my lasagna on the top rack and place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any bubbling cheese or sauce drops.
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