Traditional Italian Lasagne – Mamma’s way
NOTE: For this dish you will need to prepare the Ragu, the Sauce, and the lasagne.
For the Ragu’
See recipe number 1 in the blog
For the ‘Béchamel’ sauce (White sauce):
The creator of this sauce was apparently the marquise of Nointel, Louis de Béchamel, in the XVIII century. Nowadays many chefs agree on the hypothesis that the sauce is in fact from Italian origin , imported by Caterina de’ Medici from Tuscany to France.
INGREDIENTS (for 1 L sauce)
- - 100g unsalted butter
- - 1 pinch of salt
- - Nutmeg, powder of freshly grated
- - 100gr plain flour (“00”)
- - 1 lt fresh whole milk
WHAT TO DO:
- 1. First place the milk in a small saucepan, place it over a low heat and let it come – very slowly – to a simmering point, which will take approximately 5 minutes.
- 2. In a different pan, begin melting the butter gently and take the pan out from the heat as soon as the butter melts. Then add the flour and with a wooden spoon stir quite vigorously. Then put it back at medium heat and keep stirring it until you get a smooth, glossy ‘paste’ (the ‘roux’). Make sure you do not get clumps of unmixed flour.
- 3. Now begin adding the infused milk a little at a time and stir again vigorously with a whisk. Season with a pinch of salt and a generous quantity of freshly grounded nutmeg.
- 4. Now turn the heat down and let the sauce cook for 5 minutes, whisking from time to time, until it starts getting dense and simmering.
TIPS & TRICKS:
- - Begin melting the butter gently – don’t over-heat it or let it brown, as this will affect the colour and flavour of the sauce.
- - If you wish to keep the Béchamel warm, cover the surface with cling film to stop it from forming a skin. You can keep the sauce in the fridge, albeit covered in this way, for a maximum of 2-3 days. If you want to freeze the sauce, I recommend no longer than a month.
- - If you want to get a more dense sauce, just increase the quantity of butter and flour.
For the Lasagne (x 8/10 persons)
- - 14 sheets fresh lasagne pasta
- - 3 x 125g mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (optional)
- - rich handful grated Italian Parmesan
- - freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- - 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- - Salt
- - Extra virgin olive oil
WHAT TO DO:
- 1. Prepare the ragu sauce and the béchamel sauce in advance as it takes a long time to be ready before assembling this dish. Be ready with separate bowls of freshly grated Parmesan and, if you like, the mozzarella cheese into cubes.
- 2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- 3. For the lasagne, blanch the pasta in salted boiling water for three minutes. Add a few spoons of olive oil to the boiling water to avoid the pasta sheets sticking to each other. Place each pasta sheet on a damp towel.
- 4. Place a few tablespoons of the béchamel sauce into the bottom of a lasagne tray together with few spoons of ragu sauce and some small knobs of butter. Then place some of the pasta strips over the top to cover to whole tray bottom. Follow with extra béchamel, ragu and Parmesan, and sprinkle freshly ground black pepper over the layer. Repeat this step until all the ingredients have been used up.
- 5. Finish with a layer of béchamel sauce and knobs of butter over the surface. Sprinkle some Parmesan on the top and cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and completely cooked through.