Friday, January 29, 2010

Intense Lasagna

I forgot the photo showing a thick slice of this gorgeous lasagna with a ladled scoop of Grandma's sauce over the top, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmigiana and chopped parsley and basil. If taste buds could sing a thousand pictures!

This lasagna contains a mix on Bobby Flay's Bolognese Sauce, Ricotta Mixture, Grandma's Tomato Sauce, Bobby Flay's Mornay Sauce and Assembly Instructions. Takes about 3 hours total, including cooking the bolognese in the oven but once you sink your teeth into this heavenly lasagna, the time will mean nothing.

How many of us continue making the same ingredient combinations for certain comfort food dishes? Lasagna being one of those essential family comfort foods. I use too. Then I hooked up with a friend whose family is from Italy and my thinking on all things pasta changed. So happy to finally look outside the box for what I thought was everyday cooking. It was Not. My Mom use to cook what my parents were able to afford for a large family and she is my biggest influence for cooking today.
The Intense Lasagna has everything to do with layers BUT not piling the same layers over-and-over. Each layer is important on its' own. You will have multi cheese layers in a sauce form but your ricotta cheese layer will be 1 layer and your Bolognese sauce meat layer will also be 1 layer in this lasagna.
Intense Lasagna
Bolognese Sauce:
4 T. olive oil
2 ham hocks, preferably smoked
1 to 1 1/2 pounds bone-in beef rump roast
1 pound pancetta, diced
fresh ground black pepper
salt
1 1/2 c. finely diced sweet or yellow onion
1/2 c. finely diced carrot
1/2 c. finely diced celery
6 whole garlic cloves
1 c. dry red wine
3 cups homemade beef stock
1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes and their juices
3 fresh sprigs rosemary
4 fresh sprigs thyme
5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
1 c. tomato sauce, recipe follows
Chopped fresh parsley leaves
Chopped fresh basil leaves
Ricotta Mixture:
3 c. ricotta, strained in a cheesecloth lined strainer for at least 4 hours
2 large eggs
1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 T. chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Grandma's Tomato Sauce
7 cans (16-oz) Tomato sauce, preferably Hunts
1 can Tomato paste, again Hunts preferable
2 cans 912-oz) Diced tomatoes
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiana cheese
3 T. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1/3 cup fresh Parsley chopped finely
1/3 cup fresh basil chopped finely
1 medium sweet onion finely chopped
2 celery stalks cleaned
1 whole carrot just peeled and cleaned
1 T. dried Oregano
2 Bay leaves, whole and dried
Mornay Sauce
2 T. unsalted butter
3 T. all-purpose flour
3 c. whole milk, heated
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 c. fontina cheese
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmigiana cheese
Assembly:
2 T. unsalted butter
Mornay Sauce
1 pound lasagna noodles, (cooked in boiling, salted water until slightly under al dente, about 5 minutes)
Ricotta Mixture
Grated Parmigiana cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves
Bolognese Sauce
Directions:
For the Bolognese Sauce:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the ham hocks and beef rump roast with salt and pepper, place in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.
Remove the shanks to a plate. Remove fat from the pan. Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until golden brown. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the pan and cook until soft and lightly golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the red wine, scrape the bottom of the pan and cook until completely reduced. Add the beef stock, diced tomatoes thyme, rosemary and parsley and bring to a simmer. Add the ham hocks and 1/2 of the pancetta back to the pan, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender and falling off the bone, about 2 hours.
Remove the ham hocks to a cutting board and when cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-size pieces and place in a bowl.
Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl. Place 3 cups of the cooking liquid into a large high-sided saute pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the liquid is reduced to about 1 c. Add the shredded meat and the remaining cooked pancetta to the pan along with 1 cup of the tomato sauce, parsley and basil and stir to combine and just heat through.
For the Ricotta Mixture:
Stir together the ricotta, eggs, parsley, basil, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.
Directions for Grandma's Tomato Sauce:
Use a large pot. Heat olive oil on medium-low heat. Put garlic and onion in oil and heat until it is tender. Put parsley, basil, oregano and bay leaves in and continue to heat for 3 minutes.
Open all cans of tomato products, add in sauce pot. Raise heat to medium-high. Make sure to occasionally stir sauce. Cook and stir sauce until hot. Once sauce is hot, lower heat to a simmer.
Add celery stalk and whole carrot in sauce, continue to simmer 15 minutes.
Add 1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiana cheese to sauce, continue to simmer 15 minutes.
Remove carrot and celery, cover sauce, continue to simmer. Make sure to occasionally stir sauce.
For the Mornay Sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and let cook for about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in 3 cups of the hot milk and continue whisking until the sauce is thickened and loses its' raw flavor, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whisk in the cheeses. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in some more milk.
For Assembly:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Ladle a thin layer of mornay evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of lasagna noodles on top of the Mornay sauce and top the pasta with the ricotta mixture and spread evenly.
Spread a thin layer of Mornay over the ricotta, sprinkle with a few Tablespoons of Parmesan and some basil leaves. Top with another layer of pasta and spread the meat mixture evenly over the top.Ladle an even layer of Mornay over the Bolognese mixture, sprinkle with a few Tablespoons of Parmesan and some basil leaves. Place the final layer of pasta dough over the meat mixture and ladle the Mornay sauce over the top to completely cover the pasta and sprinkle with 3 Tablespoons of Parmesan.
Place the pan on a baking sheet and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees, remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and the filling bubbling, about 25 to 35 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.
CUT into slices and top with some of the tomato sauce, more grated cheese, chopped parsley and basil.
**NOTE**: Remaking this week and will add final picture then =)

3 comments:

Amedy said...

Yummy I wanna try this right now

天兵 said...

看看blog調整心情,又要來繼續工作,大家加油.........................

Shandy said...

Amedy, Thank you. This is a good recipe