It’s Movie and Munchies time, where anyone can watch the selected movie, make something delicious and share the result! Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm chose the movie Big Night.
I was excited by this choice since it was mentioned in a recent Cook the Books Club Choice, Taste, (I made a traditional 3-Ingredient Pasta Alfredo for that one). Stanley Tucci, author of Taste, starred in Big Night. My favorite part was that the dreaded Timpano made an appearance in both (I still wasn’t willing to make one though).
At one point, lasagna bolognese was mentioned and I knew that was my recipe. Bolognese sauces come from a different part of Italy and have many similarities but distinct differences as well.
Lasagnas I’ve made in the past have pasta, meat sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and plenty of garlic and herbs. The bolognese style has the pasta and meat sauce, but bechamel and parmesan in place of the cheeses and no garlic or herbs, lest they overwhelm the subtle flavors of the bechamel.
The lasagna was delicious. I was on the cusp of adding garlic and basil, but I withheld and I’m glad I did - the recipe truly did not need it. The bechamel adds a creamy richness to the lasagna that I typically associate with mozzarella. It was a delightful change of pace!
Recipe note: Since I used fresh pasta noodles, I added extra liquid to the bolognese to help cook the noodles through during baking. If using pre-boiled noodles, only add about half of the beef broth.
Adapted from Recipes from Italy
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound lean ground beef
5 ounces chopped pancetta
1 small carrot
1 celery stalk
1 small onion
3 ounces dry white wine
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can beef broth
Salt & pepper
3 ounces milk (whole or 2%)
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
8 ounces grated parmesan cheese
To make the bolognese, heat the olive oil in a large lidded skillet (or soup pot) over medium heat.
Place the carrot, celery, onion, and pancetta in a small food processor and pulse until the vegetables and pancetta are chopped small (alternatively, mince them by hand).
Add the vegetable mixture and the beef to the skillet and fry, breaking up the meat until the meat is browned and vegetables are tender.
Stir in the wine and simmer until mostly reduced. Stir in the tomato sauce and beef broth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring every once in a while. Stir in the milk. At this point, the sauce will resemble a thick soup (if using uncooked fresh noodles, it can be more like a thick sauce if using cooked noodles).
Make the lasagna noodles according to recipe instructions, rolling the noodles to the thinnest setting. Roll enough noodles for 5-6 layers.
Meanwhile, make the bechamel. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly, add in the milk, whisking constantly, allowing the sauce to thicken between additions. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread a small amount of bechamel sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 inch ceramic baking dish. Add a layer of noodles on top. Spread with more bechamel, followed by bolognese, and about 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan. Continue layering until there are at least 5 layers. Top with any remaining parmesan to create a thick crust of cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Allow the lasagna to stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.