18 August 2008

Le lasagna - le bellismo!!

WOW Italian cooking started tonight with a stand in tutor The Merchant of Venice - Antonio Gasperini & wow he's great. This lasagna is not like any I've made before.

Il soffritto (vegetables): Dice 1 large carrot, 1 large onion & 1 large celery stick. Cook in about 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. When the veges are softish add a decent dash of red wine. Continue cooking for about 20-30 minutes. Add a few ladles/small can tomato paste.

Whilst this is cooking prepare the il ragu (AKA la Bolognese). Bring to a simmer 1 cup full fat milk with 3-4 bay leaves. Simmer gently for about 5 mins then add ~500g prime mince & ~500g pork mince. This removes acidity from the meat. Continue simmering gently for about 20-30 mins then add to il soffrito/vegetables. Continue cooking for ~ another half hour, add extra water if needed.

La napolitana (tomato) sauce: crush 2-3 cloves garlic with rock salt, add to 4 Tbsp hot olive oil, add a decent dash of red wine to stop cooking. Add 3 cans of crushed Italian peeled tomatoes.

La besciamella (bechamel) sauce: melt ~50g butter on a VERY GENTLE HEAT! Add approx. 1 tsp ground nutmeg & 1 tsp ground black pepper, remove from heat. Add 1 Tbsp of flour & whisk, continue adding 1 Tbsp amounts of flour until resembles a paste. Add a small amount of full fat milk & whisk over a gentle heat, slowly increase heat to Medium & should take approx. 1-1/2 L of milk to make sauce.

Season all sauces with salt & pepper at the finish of cooking - approx. 1-2tsp of rock salt to meat & tomato sauces & 1 tsp to the bechamel sauce plus black pepper.

Constructing the lasgana start off with tomato sauce then fresh pasta sheets then il ragu then bechamel (can add a bit of grated tasty cheese over bechamel). Last layer smother pasta with tomato sauce & then parmesean cheese & tasty cheese, big handful of oregano & a sprig of rosemary (provides perfume whilst cooking).

bake moderate oven ~12-15 minutes.

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