Lasagna al Forno
Lasagna al forno (literally meaning 'lasagna cooked in the oven') is probably the best loved 'Sunday' dish in Italy. Every Mother has her 'favourite family recipe' and teaches her children the secrets of how to cook it. Consequently, there are many different versions of this dish.
The most famous is Lasagna alla Bolognese (as made in the city of Bologna) which is made with ragù alla Bolognese (a sauce of mince and tomatoes), parmesan cheese and béchamel sauceIn many parts of Italy, particularly the south, they have always added other ingredients such as mozzarella cheese, hard boiled eggs, ham or small meatballs. I am going to show you how to make a middling version, which also happens to be my favourite recipe: Lasagna with ragù, béchamel, mozzarella and hard boiled eggs.
Although both the ragù and the béchamel sauce can be bought ready-made the taste will be nowhere near as good as this homemade version.
As this is an Italian recipe the ingredients are metric.
For the béchamel sauce:
- 500g milk
- 50g plain flour
- 50g butter
- 1 tspsalt
- ¼ tspnutmeg
- pinch of pepper
Melt the butter in a saucepan, mix the flour with a few tablespoons of milk, add the rest of the milk and the melted butter and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook for one minute, turn the heat off and add the pepper and nutmeg.
For the ragù alla Bolognese:
- 400g mince (pork and veal)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1 stick of celery
- 4 cups boiling stock or water
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper
Chop the onion, carrot and celery and lightly brown them in the olive oil and butter (the butter will lower the temperature of the oil and stop the onion from burning). Add the mince and cook until browned. Pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook over a low heat for an hour, adding more water if necessary.
You will also need:
How to layer Lasagna:
- 150g mozzarella cheese
- 3 hardboiled eggs
- 60g parmesan cheese
Spread some of the ragù (no more than one cup) on the base of a dish. Cover with sheets of lasagna, without overlapping them. Cover these with more ragù (about 2 cups). Next add a few tablespoons of béchamel sauce along with some parmesan, mozzarella and chopped hard boiled eggs. Cover with sheets of lasagna. Continue in this way until all the ingredients are used up.
The top layer:
Cover with the remaining béchamel and ragù (if there is any left)Sprinkle with parmesan and bake at 350°F for the time indicated on the lasagna packet. This is usually around 20 minutes for dried lasagna, fresh lasagna normally takes around 12 minutes.
The top of the lasagna should be brown and crispy. If it is browning too quickly during cooking then cover the top of the dish with foil. Should it not be brown enough when it is cooked then place it under the grill for a few minutes.
Once cooked, turn off the oven, open the door and let the lasagna rest for around 10 minutes prior to serving
Any leftovers can be frozen.
Visit 'Le Ricette di Cle'
My name is Maria Clelia (my nickname is Cle). I was born and raised in the countryside of Southern Italy in the region of Puglia. It is said that first I learned to cook and then I learned to read.
My first teacher in the kitchen was my Mother and it was she who taught me all the basics on which I built my great passion for cooking. I now share this passion through the internet by means of my blog.
I think cooking says a lot about us and our history and I love to taste different local dishes during my travels. But, inspite of being very experienced in the kitchen and having a love of experimenting with new combinations, in the end my favourite dishes are always the simple ones. I much prefer the old recipes of the poor peasants and my Grandmother.
I hope I can manage to bring a little bit of Italy to your table with my recipes.
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