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The traditional recipe of homemade lasagna

Step by step, all the directions of how making classic homemade lasagna

traditional_red_lasagna
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Time: about 4 hours

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Difficulty: medium/high

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Serves 4

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Costs: medium

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Nutrition facts

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Carbohydrates: 49%

Proteins: 25%

Fats: 26%

Cholesterol: 24%

Ingredients(for four people)

For the pasta sheets

400gr of white flour

4 eggs

a pinch of salt

some water

(reckon 100 gr of white flour for 1 egg)

For the bolognese sauce

1 medium onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk

250 gr of fresh pork leg mince

250 gr of ground beef (85%lean)

Beef or chicken stock, 1/4 of litre

Butter: 50 gr, and 3 spoons of olive oil

Tomato sauce,1/2 litre

1 glass of milk

1 galass of red wine

Salt, pepper

For bechamel sauce

1 litre of milk

100 gr of butter

100 gr of flour

For lasagna

Grated parmisan, 200gr

Tools

a_wooden-pastry_board_with_rolling_pin a_pasta_machine

Basic tools:rolling pin, wooden pastry board, (optionally) the pasta machine.

Directions

Preparation of the pasta sheets

crater_shape_flour_setting

Set the flour on a wooden pastry board in a way to make a small crater. Break the eggs into the crater and mix the eggs and the flour with your hands, so that to obtain a dough ball.

making-dough

Work the dough with your hand at least ten minutes.

a_dough_ball

Your dough ball must be homogeneous inside, without lumps, soft and elastic, like the play dough of children.

Add a small pinch of salt, wrap your dough ball with a humid (but not wet!) clean cloth, then let it rest for an hour in a shaded and fresh place.

making_pasta_sheets

Put your dough ball on the wooden pastry board. With your hands, flatten the dough up to the point to get a plate shape.

Take the rolling-pin and roll the dough to the point to get a thin pasta layer. The height of the layer should be between 0.5 mm and 1 mm. Try to make it as soft as you can.

It is easy to recognize if the sheet is too soft, as it breaks when you try to utilize it.

Once got the dough sheet, cut it into rectangles of 20X14 cm size. Naturally the size of the rectangles can be changed in order to adapt them to the dimension of the pan.

Tips for this stage

- Today's technology offers some useful tools and machines to make the pasta sheets. You can see an example of this tools in the photo below.

- It is also possible to make perfect dough simply by utilising a robot or a mixer.

- If you choose technology, make the dough by hand or by your mixer. Take the machine for pasta and regulate the thin of the sheet on the apposite button. Then, put a small dough ball on the top of the tool. Press down gently while turning the handle, and the sheet will be just coming out of the machine.

- Before starting, spread one spoon of flour on the wooden pastry board. This will prevent the dough to get stuck too easily to the board.

- If the dough is too hard, add some small spoons of water up to the point to get the desired level of consistency. The dough must be enough elastic to be easily worked, but not as humid as it becomes sticky. If the dough is too humid, simply add some flour.

- The humidity in the air affects your dough. Don't work in air flows.

Preparation of bolognese

chopped_celery_stalk_and_onion_and_carrot sauted_meat_and_vegetables

Chop finely the onion, the carrot and the celery stalk. Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat.

Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Sauté until soft, 8-10 minutes.

Add the minced beef and the pork leg; sauté, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until browned (about 15 minutes).

Add some wine. Stir often, so that the sauce does not get burnt or stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the stock and the tomato sauce; stir to blend.

Reduce heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavours meld, for about 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

Simmer the milk in a small saucepan; gradually add to sauce. Cover sauce with the lid slightly ajar and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, for about 45 minutes.

Tips for this stage
bolognese_sauce

- Bolognese must be enough liquid to be spread over the pasta sheets, but not too liquid. You can regulate the sauce by adding tomato sauce or stock.

- Tomato sauce is made only with tomato without anything else, and it is called "passata" in the Italian language. Be careful, tomato sauce is not the French tomato sauce or the ketchup! You can buy "passata" in any shop specialized in Italian food.

- Bolognese can be frozen.

- According to the tradition, the most suitable cutting of beef for bolognese is "cartella", which corresponds to the English "thin skirt".

Preparation of bechamel

bechamel-sauce

There are lots of resources on the web on Bechamel sauce.Here comes my version.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes.The sauce must not become brown or sticky! Remove from heat. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. Return to heat.

Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon over low heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Tips for this stage

- Bechamel must be enough liquid to be spread over lasagna sheet.

Preparation of lasagna

bottom_of_the_baking_pan_greased_with_some_bolognese

Take a rectangular baking pan. The dimensions of the pan must be compatible with the dimensions of your pasta sheets (see the section above).

Grease the bottom of the pan with butter or olive oil and then spread two or three spoons of Bolognese. This will prevent the first layer of pasta sheet from getting stuck to the bottom of the pan while baking.

first_layer_of_pasta_sheets bolognese_spred_over_the_first_layer layer_of_pasta_sheet_on_the_pan

Make the first layer of pasta sheets. On this first layer of pasta sheet, spread some bechamel sauce and then some Bolognese sauce. Last, spread some grated Parmisan.

Again, make a second pasta layer, and again, spread some bechamel sauce, some bolognese sauce and some grated cheese.

Go on with layers up till ingredinets are finished. The layers of pasta must be at least four. Usually they are six. Once got to the last layer, top with some bechamel sauce mixed with the reminder of Bolognese sauce. Spread the topping of lasagna with Parmisan.

ready_lasagna

Bake at 160 degrees for 50/60 minutes. Check lasagna sometimes; your lasagna are ready when there is a thin golden crust over there.

Tips for this stage

- Cheese must be Parmigiano reggiano (Parmesan). There is a similar Italian cheese, Grana Padano, but it is not exactly the same thing. However, if authentic Parmesan is not at hand, Grana Padano can work as well.

Matches

According to the tradition, Lasagna is a first course. So, it is served after starters and before the main course. As lasagna is very rich, in modern diets lasagna is served as a main course, maybe with some fresh salad as side dish.

Wines like San Giovese, which is produced in Romagna (near Bologna), or Lambrusco (same geographical area) are perfect matches for lasagna.