Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone but there is one more holiday dinner that tops our list. Hopefully this will become a tradition, as this is the second year of the “post-rehersal” band family dinner. I am very excited to host the Fentons and their families this year. Need to know more about the Fentons? Follow this link: http://www.fentonstwang.com/
- Laura’s Lasagna Bolognese
- Grilled Vegetable Platter
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Stew – our Vegan option (post to follow)
- Tossed Green Salad
- Sourdough Bread (previously posted)
- Southern Pecan Coconut Cream Cake (posted 01/03/14)
Depending on how big of a pan of lasagna you are making, you may need to double the sauce recipe. The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen until you are ready to assemble the lasagna. I received a new lasagna pan that is HUGE, so I tripled the sauce recipe. http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/91156-chefs-lasagna-pan.aspx
Bolognese Sauce (adapted from 25 Favorite Classics, Food and Wine Magazine, September 2003)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 pound coarsely ground beef chuck
1 pound coarsely ground pork
1/4 pound mortadella, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
Two 28-ounce can Italian whole tomatoes, chopped, with their juices
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in the oil. Add the garlic, pancetta, carrot, onion and celery and cook over moderately low heat until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef and pork and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the mortadella and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes with their juices, the stock, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon each of the parsley and basil and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very thick. I like to simmer this sauce at least 4 hours.
Reduce heat to very low, stir the cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley and 1 tablespoon of basil into the meat sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Béchamel Sauce (adapted from Cuisine at Home, February 2004)
I doubled this due to the large size of the lasagna I am making.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
pinch if nutmeg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups of whole milk
10 ounces Boursin or Aluette cheese
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 egg, beaten
Saute the onion for the béchamel sauce in melted butter over medium heat. Add cayenne and nutmeg and cook until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour to make a light rue. Cook about 2 minutes. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the Boursin in small pieces and whisk until smooth. Set aside 2 cups of the sauce to top the lasagna. Cool remaining sauce for 10 minutes. Whisk in the spinach and the beaten egg. Set aside.
For the lasagna
Prepared lasagna noodles or pasta sheets, enough to create 4-5 layers of pasta in your pan
1-2 pounds shredded mozzarella cheese – or more – depending on the size of your pan and recipe
1 pound Grated Parmesan cheese – or more – depending on the size of your pan and recipe
Spray your lasagna dish with non-stick spray. Cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of béchamel sauce. Place a layer of noodles over the sauce. Spread a thin layer of béchamel over the noodles. Spread a layer of meat sauce over the béchamel sauce. Top with a generous layer of mozzarella and then sprinkle with parmesan.
Layer another layer of pasta. Cover with a thin layer of béchamel. Cover the béchamel with a layer of meat sauce, then mozzarella, then parmesan. Repeat two more times., finishing with a layer of noodles.
Spread the last noodles layer with the reserved béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan.
Bake uncovered until hot and bubbly at 375′ for approximately 45-60 minutes. Let the lasagna “rest” for a least 20 minutes before serving.
The Fentons – L to R: Norman, Snake, Blackie, Howard, Mrs. Chaz Fenton, and Chaz
Sometimes, a couple of pictures tell the whole story!