miércoles, 28 de diciembre de 2011

Lasagna Bolognese

I was about to type a blog entry on Central American Tamales when this came along. And I have to admit, with perfect timing. I've come to realize no one ever cooks anything I post here. The main complaint has always been "too specialized for me". WHAT?! Are you fucking kidding me, people? The fact that an unmarried, self-taught, possibly alcoholic food enthusiast with absolutely no special tools can cook these recipes is the perfect evidence of their feasability.

So in order to prove this, Ass-face here was recruited to cook:
Meet my sister's boyfriend: Ass-Face
An cook he did. Not only that, but he survived a relentless barrage of insults on par with Sgt Hartman in "Full Metal Jacket" and didn't so much as blink. I tip my hat to you, Ass-Face.

It's back to basics day (after all, Ass-face IS severly retarded), and we're making a classic Lasagna Bolognese from scratch.


The origins of lasagna are lost in time. There are several theories. Some state that it's derived from other ancient greek dishes, like Moussaka or Laganon. Laganon was made by layering thin strips of dough over meat. Others contend that it comes from "lasanon", the latin word for the dish it was cooked in. Yet tomatoes were only available in Europe after Columbus set foot in the Americas, and the earliest written evidence of their culinary use was recorded by Pietro Andrea Mattioli in 1557. Before that, dumbass europeans thought they were poisonous.

So there's no definitive way to cook lasagna, save for whatever your most well-acquainted italian grandma used to make. No transgressions here.


First things first: The Pasta. Precooked shit is not so good. While it can save your ass in a hurry, in tends to dissolve in the sauce. American noodles are not porous enough to hold the sauces properly, so stay away from them. Italian dried pasta, when fresh lasagna is not readily available, is just perfect.

Boil a pot of water, then place your noodles on a flat baking dish and soak them in the boiling water for 20 minutes. Don't boil them like regular pasta, otherwise they'll disintegrate and you'll look like an idiot.

While the pasta soaks, start the meat sauce. Make a mire-poix with a whole onion, 4 celery ribs and a large carrot (not pictured), and let it sweat for a few minutes in some good old olive oil.

Next, add a pound of whatever ground meat you have on hand. In this case, pork. Brown it evenly while pushing the vegetables away and mix it all when the meat is uniformly gray. Add 2 garlic cloves, crushed.

Next, add about 3 Tablespoons of tomato paste and stir until completely absorbed.

Once the meat is impregnated with the tomato paste, add some parmessan cheese, 250 ml of crushed tomatoes, 500ml of beef stock, oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and let reduce until most of the liquid evaporates.

Now on to the Bechamel sauce.


Fuck! This is a first! Two Sheldon moments in the same recipe! You'll hate me, I know. The great Auguste Escoffier took Antonin Careme's list of sauces and came up with the 5 "mother sauces" of french cuisine. Yes, I know, lasagna is italian. Just wait for it. Bechamel sauce is an elaboration on another Tuscan sauce called "salsa colla", imported to French courts by Catherine de Medici in the late 1500s. To this day, it's called "balsamella" in northern italian kitchens.


Bechamel is made by mixing scalded milk with a white roux. Boil 500ml of milk, then immediately turn the heat off. Continue by slowly melting 2 Tbsps of butter in a large sauce pan. Once it bubbles and before it browns, add 2 Tbsps all purpouse flour and whisk furiously over a medium flame to cook away the raw flour taste. Once it starts turning a pale yellow, add 1/2 cup of scalded milk and dissolve whatever lumps may form. Now add the rest of the milk, salt and pepper and stir until creamy. Set aside.

Motherfucker got it right on the first try.
On to the building. Pre-heat your oven to 425°F. Thoroughly butter 2 aluminum loaf pans. Now laddle some tomato sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking. Layer some pasta, then some meat sauce, then some chopped basil leaves, then some shredded mozzarella cheese and then some bechamel. Repeat in this same order until reaching the top of the loaf pans (3x), then finish with pasta, bechamel and an assload of cheese.

Place on a baking tray on the top oven rack for 20 minutes and wait at least 15 minutes to slice and serve.

Printer Friendly Version
Lasagna Bolognese
Serves 6

1 box italian lasagna noodles
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmessan cheese

Meat Sauce:
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
1 lb ground animal (pork, beef, veal, whatever)
2 garlic cloves, crushed.
3 Tbsps tomato paste
1 8Oz container of crushed tomatoes
16 Oz beef stock
Oregano, basil, salt, pepper and parmessan cheese to taste
Olive oil

Bechamel Sauce:
2 Tbsps butter
2 Tbsps flour
16 Oz milk, scalded
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F, butter 2 aluminum loaf pans. Set aside.
  2. Soak your noodles in boiling water until softened but not cooked through, then dain and cover.
  3. Sauté the onion, carrot and celery in olive oil until translucent, then add the meat and brown evenly. Add the tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and reduce until thick. Reserve.
  4. Melt 2 Tbsps butter over a medium flame, then add 2 Tbsps flour and cook lightly. SLowly add the milk until combined and thickened.
  5. Spoon some tomato sauce on the bottom of the loaf pans, then layer pasta, meat sauce, basil leaves, cheese and bechamel. Repeat 3 times and finish with pasta.
  6. Top with the remaining bechamel and more cheese, then bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Be fucking awesome

2 comentarios:

  1. So I made this last night, and followed your recipe EXACTLY... and it was FUCKIN AWESOME! I even got the bechamel right on the first try, just like Ass-face!

    Only one question. I did what you instructed with the lasagna noodles... but when I took them out of the pan of water, a few of them stuck together. Is there a way to prevent this, or is it just inevitable?

    1. it's actually a matter of timing and spacing. I get stuck noodles all the time, and just tear them up and stir them into whatever sauce is left over to make a casserole and eat while the guests arrive...