Thursday, 4 February 2010

Lasagne al Ragù

Pasta sheets layered with a rich beef and pork ragu sauce, bubbling with a nice golden crust of Parmesan.  I've been making lasagne for years and have tried all sorts of different recipes. 


This is my 'titivated' version of one by Delia Smith.
 It is so tasty, you may not want to add the chicken livers but they really do add a lot of good flavour to the dish. 

Print this Recipe


 Serves 2 very greedy people or 4 not quite so greedy people.
You will need:
a pack of 6 fresh no-cook lasagne sheets each one about 8x6 inches in size
55g Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), freshly grated

250g minced beef

250g minced pork

150g chicken livers

80g thin sliced Pancetta

extra virgin olive oil - a few glugs for frying

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot
, finely chopped
3 fat cloves garlic, finely chop
ped
2 tins of
good quality Italian chopped tomatoes 1 x400g and 1 x 230g
5 tablespoons tomato purée
(tomato paste if your in the US)
175
ml of red wine
a good pinch of dried oregano

a whole nutmeg

salt and freshly milled black pepper

two
handfuls of fresh basil - leaves only



For the white sauce:
750ml of whole milk

100g of unsalted butter

55g plain flour

100ml double cream


Pre-heat your oven to 140C/275F or Gas 1


How to do it:
In a large frying pan heat a about a tablespoon oil over a medium heat.
Fry gently the onion and carrot
for about 10 minutes, moving it around from time to time.
Slice the pancetta as finely as possible.
Now add the pancetta to the pan with the onion.
Add the garlic and continue cooking for abo
ut 5 minutes. Then transfer this mixture to the casserole.
Add another glug of oil to the frying pan, turn the heat up and fry the beef and pork
to brown it, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
Keep it moving so it browns evenly.
When it's browned nicely, tip it into the casserole to along with the onions etc.

Trim the chicken livers, rinse them under cold running water and dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper. 
  Pull off any skin and snip out any strange looking bits with kitchen scissors and chop them into really small pieces.

Now you need to put another tiny bit of oil into the frying pan and cook the pieces of chicken liver.
As soon as they have browned nicely, add them the the casserole too.

You now want to put the flame proof casserole over the direct heat and give everything a good stir.
Add the tin of tomatoes, the tomato purée, oregano and red wine.
Give it a really good seasoning of salt, pepper
and about a quarter of a nutmeg, grated.
Still
stirring, allow it to come up to simmering point.
Using
only half of the basil leaves (one handful) tear them into small pieces and add them to the casserole.



Picture above is the sauce ready to go into the oven.

Once everything is simmering, put the casserole on the c
entre shelf of the pre-heated oven without a lid.
Leave it to cook slowly, for about an hour and then check on it, and give it a stir.

Put it back for another 45 minutes and then check and give it a good stir.  

If you haven't by now got a nice thick, reduced concentrated sauce, that only has very little liquid left in it then put it back for another 15 minute and by then is must be nice and thick.
 When it is, remove it from the oven.
Have a taste to
check the seasoning then tear the other handful of basil into small pieces and stir them in.
Now leave the meat sauce to one side and make the white sauce.

Now to make the white sauce:

Put the butter and flour into a large thick-based saucepan and put it over a medium heat whilst stirring with a wooden spoon.
Let it cook for a minute or so (or the sauce will be lumpy).

Now, remove from the heat and using a balloon whisk, add the milk in a little at a time, whisking all the time.

On
ce all the milk is in, put the saucepan over a gentle heat and whisk continuously until the sauce comes to simmering point and thickens nicely.
Add some salt and pepper to season and have a taste t
o make sure it's okay.



Then, with the heat as low as possible, continue to cook the sauce for about 10 minutes. When it's nice and thick, remove from the heat and stir in the cream, and grate in another quarter of the whole nutmeg.

To make the lasagne:
Lightly oil your lasagne dish and spread a little of the ragù over the base of the dish. Cover this with a sheet of pasta.
Now cover that with a little of the white sauce.

Cover that with another sheet of pasta and some more of the
ragù.
Repeat this process, finishing with a final layer of cream sauce.

Sprin
kle the whole thing with the grated Parmesan cheese and your ready to put it in the oven.
You can do all of this well in advance - just cover with cling film and refrigerate until your ready to cook.


When you're ready, bake the lasagne in a pre-heated oven at

180C/350F or Gas 4 

It will take about 45-50 minutes or until bubbling and piping hot.


8 comments:

Bellini Valli said...

I would be one of those greedy people waiting for my slice Jan.

Peter M said...

I've been a proponent of using a white sauce in a lasagna for years. It's like a glue, keeps it moist, even on the next day for leftovers.

Will you pick the chicken livers out for me? ;)

Beth said...

Ive never put chicken livers in my lasagne - but I know they are authentic. I will have to try next time and just not tell hubby or the kids

Jan said...

Peter and Beth - Paul doesn't know that I put chicken livers in - he just comments on how nice it is lol...bless him :)

Joy said...

What a beautiful lasagna! I put a link to it on my fb Comfort Food page
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Comfort-Food/45835228926?ref=mf

Nina Timm said...

I think the chicken livers can impart quite a wonderful earthy flavor to the lasagna.....never tried it before..

Looks so damn good, this lasagna!!!!

Margaret said...

I too haven't ever put chicken livers into lasagne!
I think not telling is the best thing to do. The lasagne looks lovely Jan.

Keithgarrick said...

I have been experimenting with cooking a Ragu for a while. That deep down beef flavor is so over the top I love it. Thanx for sharing!!!

And the chicken livers GENIUS!

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