Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Ultimate Lasagna Bolognese


Since I first started blogging in January, I have cooked a little over 50 of Tyler's recipes!! Of the 50 or so recipes that I've tried, there are many that were favorites and have been made over and over again in my kitchen. It seems like the perfect time to share my top favorites with you!
Hands down, my all-time favorite Tyler recipe is the Big Fat Chocolate Chip Cookie . I have easily made this cookie recipe at least eight to ten times. They are the best, chewy, and chocolately cookies out there.

Some of my other Tyler favorites are: Parker House Rolls, Wonderful White Bread, Amaretto Chocolate Brownies, Perfect Roast Chicken, Grilled Flatbread with Caramelized Onions, Grapes, Mascarpone, Walnuts and Gorgonzola, Chicken Marsala, Chicken Breasts with Oranges, Olives and New Potato, The Ultimate Onion Rings, Berry-Brioche Bread Pudding, Bourbon and Chocolate Pecan Pie, Pulled Pork, Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie, Braised Brisket, and now my new favorite is this recipe, THE ULTIMATE LASAGNA BOLOGNESE.
My husband, who is never quick to dole out compliments, declared this recipe one of the top ten best things that I have ever cooked!! My husband was having a pretty bad day, wasn't hungry for lasagna, and was a little perturbed about waiting for it to cool down for 15 minutes. When he started eating it, he kept saying that it was really, really good. He was even teasing me about not eating anymore so that he could save it and eat it all up while I was gone this weekend! This recipe gets the five-star rating from me. It will be added to my dinner rotation AND I will recommend it to everyone!! When I love a recipe this much, I will make it for potlucks, celebrations, as a gift for a new mom, etc.

The lasagna does take about 3 hours and no, I didn't make my own pasta. I actually made this recipe because I've had some packaged lasagna noodles in my pantry for almost a year! That's right.....I never make lasagna. My husband and I are not big lovers of lasagna, until now!! I had all the ingredients for this in my pantry and only had to find some ground pork to complete the recipe. I couldn't locate ground pork at my local country grocery store, so I bought some spicy Italian sausage and substituted that instead. There is no ricotta or cottage cheese in this lasagna. Instead Tyler uses a cramy bechamel sauce. The bolognese was a little spicy and had a wonderful complex flavor. There was a 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes added to the bechamel, but the bolognese didn't an overwhelming taste of tomato. It was overall just a wonderful version of lasagna. Please try this one and I guarantee you that the men in your life will thank you!!

THE ULTIMATE LASAGNA BOLOGNESE, Dinner at My Place, by Tyler Florence
  • 1 recipe fresh pasta dough (see page 27 of Dinner at My Place) or use up your pantry packaged lasagna noodles like I did : )

Bolognese:

  • 2 carrots, cut into large pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into large pieces
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into large pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 fresh sage sprigs, leaves only
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used black angus, we prefer this much more)
  • 1 pound ground pork (I couldn't locate ground pork so I used spicy Italian sausage)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine (I only had 1/2 bottle left and used only 1/2)
  • 1-28 ounce can San Marzano whole tomatoes (I usually use Red Gold brand)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I didn't add this, I was afraid my husband wouldn't like it)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

Bechamel:

  • 2 cups whole milk (I used 2%, I don't usually have whole)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound buffalo mozzarella, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley

Begin by making the Fresh Pasta Dough or by soaking your packaged noodles in a bowl of hot water, turning so they can soften.

To make bolognese, put carrot, onion, clelery, garlic and sage in a food processor and process until you have smooth vegetable pulp. coat a large, heavy-based pot with oil and set over mediium heat. Add vegetable pulp and saute until fragrant and some of the moisture has evaporated, 4-5 minutes. Push the vegetable pulp to one side of the pot. Season ground beef and pork with plenty of salt and pepper, then add to the pot. Stir and break up the meat until it is brown, then dust with the 2 tbsp. of flour before adding wine, tomatoes, milk, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 1-1/2 hours, uncovered, until sauce is thick. Add parmesan and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the Bechamel.

To make the Bechamel, set a large saucepan over medium heat. Add milk, garlic, and a bay leaf and bring to a simmer to infuse milk with herb flavors. Set a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add butter and melt, then sprinkle in flour while you stir with a wooden spoon. Once all of the flour has been combined with the butter, grab a whisk and gradually pour in the herb-infused milk, passing it through a sieve as you go to strain out the aromatics. As the sauce thickens, continue to whisk over low heat, then add nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 350F. To assemble the lasagna, cut the hang-dried pasta sheets to fit a 9x13x3" lasagna pan; set the pasta aside. Coat the bottom of the lasagna pan with a thin layer of Bechamel. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles, trimming noodles to fit as necessary. Top the noodle layer with a layer each of Bechamel, Bolognese, and mozzarella pieces. Continue with the layers of lasagna noodles, Bechamel, Bolognese, and mozzarella pieces until you have three complete layers, finishing with mozzarella. Shower the top of the lasagna with Parmesan and parsley. Bake, uncovered, on a trap (to catch the drippings) in the center of the preheated oven for 1 hour. (If the top starts to brown, tent with foil). Let the lasagna stand for 15-20 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy the best lasagna you have ever put in your mouth!! I am submitting this dish to the weekly roundup at Tyler Florence Fridays. Stop by this Friday evening to see what all the others made.

23 comments:

  1. Ok, I have to admit, I flipped right past this recipe in the book. I mean, I'm italian, I don't need someone telling me how to make lasagne! But wow, does this one sound good. I am a big proponent of ricotta in lasagne, but the bechamel sounds heavenly. I feel your pain on the lack of ground pork at the store, I have the same problem, but I substitue italian sausage, too! We do seem to be reading each others minds! :) Looks fabulous! I may have to swallow my italian pride and give it a try!

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  2. Everyone keeps talking about Tyler Florence--I need to try some of his recipes!!! The lasagna looks delicious!!! I'm literally drooling now!

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  3. I love lasagna - and I've made it with bechamel many, many times.

    It looks perfect!

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  4. What a happy coincidence! I just received my Atlas pasta roller today. I made spinach lasagna a few months back and rolling it thin by hand may have built up my muscles, but it also left me drenched in sweat and aching. While it was delicious, the Bolognese sauce could really have used more tomato. I'm expecting Tyler's cookbook in the mail any day now and will plan to make this after the 4th of July (BBQ will be occupying my time before then). Yours looks delish!

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  5. That is some high raise...and it looks well deserved! I definitely want to try this, I love lasagna :D

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  6. This lasagna looks over the top delicious!! Tyler just so rocks! Great pick!

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  7. This is on my list to try!

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  8. I LOVE favorites lists. It keeps me apprised of what I should and shouldn't even bother to make. I love lasagna, so I'm sure this would be a winner in my book as well. It certainly looks delicious.

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  9. I've never made traditional lasagne bolognese..but it sounds absolutely heavenly! What a great recipe to test out my pasta machine with!! Now, could we get Mom Nature to drop the heat index just a little bit?? Great dish!!

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  10. OK, now I am really craving lasagna right now--boy does this look good!

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  11. I've made this and agree, it is a good lasagna.

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  12. man that looks good. i tried his lasagna al forno and that was very good - i'll have to try this one out as well. and wow, over 50 tyler recipes!!

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  13. Wow...it looks wonderful! 3 hours is quite a commitment, but it looks worth it :)

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  14. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I also love TF- but all your favorites I seemed to have missed. I guess I better get going... We had lasagna last night, not this recipe though. When I go back to the store, I guess I'll have to get more noodles, or maybe be brave and try homemade!!

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  15. I love your blog - glad to have found it! :) And I love lasagna! Yours looks delicious! I've gotta ask, though... are you a fan of Bill or of Eric? ;)

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  16. I would love to be added to this blog! You all sound just like me! I LOVE to cook and don't even give it a thought that I just spend 4 hours on a dinner that will maybe be eaten in 5 minutes, without any comment! I do love dinner parties and hope this blog gives me plenty of ideas! I only hope I can enlighten you all with ideas I may have that have worked well! Bon apetit!

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  17. Oh dear, this look so delicious! I've not yet try making one of these before.

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  18. Kim, you saved me. I am moving and have packed almost everything in my kitchen in order to show the house better. We are still digging out of 30+ inches of snow on the east coast and Tyler's Lasagna Bolongese would hit the spot. I could not believe I packed his cookbook. No recipe online, nothing! After two days of searching, I found you. Thank you, this is the best and I was not planning on settling - even for another Tyler lasagna!

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  19. The bolognase is wonderful and you must try with homemade pasta. But is there something wrong with the bechamel sauce, I made twice and it was a gummy mess. I've made roux before and it seems the proportions are off, many other sources use half the ratio of flour/butter to liquid.

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