14 January 2009

Lasagna Bolognese

I absolutely love lasagna, so when I read a recipe (from The Silver Spoon, although I don't own the book yet) featuring homemade pasta and béchamel sauce, I just had to try it. Recipe follows!

Bolognese Sauce

1 carrot
1 onion
1.5 lb ground beef
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 16 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
olive oil

Finely chop carrots and onion. Add to large frying pan with 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Fry for 5 minutes, then add ground beef and brown. Once brown, add the wine. Let the wine boil off (5-10 minutes), then lower the heat and add the tomato and salt. Let simmer for at least 30 minutes, then pepper and remove from heat.

I should have used a lower fat version of the ground beef, or at least drained it, but it came out tasting very, very good.

Béchamel Sauce

1/4 cup butter (one half stick)
1/4 cup flour
2 1/4 cup milk
freshly grated nutmeg

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour. Once incorporated, add the milk and whisk constantly until boiling. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to medium/low and put a lid on the pan. Leave for 20-30 minutes, whisking every five minutes or so.


This was easier than I thought! I have no pasta machine (yet, I want that attachment), so I rolled them by hand. Took some energy, but they came out nice and thin.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour (durum wheat)
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp water
1 tsp salt

Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil, add salt.

I used a stand mixer for this - if you have one, put everything but the water in the mixer and mix up with the paddle. Once incorporated, mix with the dough hook for 10 minutes, adding the tablespoons of water if needed. You're looking for a shiny texture, almost like leather.

If not using a mixer, mix the flours and salt and make a mound on a clean surface. Make a well in the center and add the eggs, yolk and olive oil. Incorporate the flour into the well with your hands or a fork. Once incorporated, knead for 10 or 15 minutes, adding some water if needed.

Let the dough rest for at least 15 minutes before dividing into 6 pieces and rolling each piece very thinly. Don't worry too much about the size, but if you can make the pieces roughly 1/2 of the form you're making the lasagna in, you're ahead of the game.

Place one sheet at the time in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, remove into a colander and let drain, place on moist (clean!) kitchen towel and leave until ready to build lasagna.

Building the Lasagna

1 cup parmesan cheese
Bolognese sauce from above recipe
Béchamel sauce from above recipe
Pasta from above recipe
2 tbsp butter plus extra for greasing

Set your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)

Grease a large, oven-safe form. Cover the bottom of the pan with pasta, then spoon a layer of bolognese sauce, drizzle béchamel sauce and finally add some of the parmesan cheese. You can add some grated mozzarella cheese too, if you wish. Continue with the layers until all is used (I managed three layers). Finish with béchamel sauce. Place in oven for 30 minutes, let cool for 5 before cutting. Serve with some lettuce and fresh tomato, or just devour the whole thing from the pan.

Enjoy :)


  1. Okay, so if I wasn't already impressed before when you whipped that fantastic fish and couscous dinner out of basically thin air, I would be impressed now. Actually I am impressed now.. only more impressed.

    I really wish I had the means to cook the way you do. =)

  2. What I do here isn't really that hard. I'll try to give you some pointers! :)

  3. didnt know you were such the cook :D

  4. Having a pasta machine isn't that good really, especially hand cranked ones, if you do get one get a motorised one. But really they don't give anything more than a rolling pin, and having spent hours making pasta with a machine may not even be faster.

    Once you made some rolled out pasta you can make loads of things try some Cannelloni, Tortellini/oni. By clever rolling and cutting you can make some great ribbon pasta.

    Also there are way simpler pasta dough recipes, I usually just get some flour and some eggs and mix to the right consistency. knead for a while then leave for it to build up the proteins.

  5. Yeah, I want the one that attaches to my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, so it will be motorized. My dad has the old hand-cranker and it just takes forever and you might as well do it manually (apart from when actually making spaghetti or similar, hard to cut in a straight line) :)

    I'm aware there are simpler recipes, I just really love this one. The semolina flour really helps both taste and consistency, but I suppose that disappears somewhat in a lasagna :)

  6. Blurgh, carrot in bolognese? Swap the carrots for bacon and it'd be perfect ;)


  7. Actually, the carrot added a very subtle taste and didn't taste very carrot-y at all. Traditionally, bolognese has carrot in it, so...I used it.

    It was greasy enough without bacon :)