Ragù alla Bolognese - a staple
I am sure most of you have tasted Lasagna with ragù at least once, but have you ever tried to do it at home? Well, during this (peculiar) Christmas, my mum and I wanted to try and prepare it for Christmas Lunch. You may think - “what’s the challenge there?” – keep reading and you will find out.
The main character of this tasty plate is ragù alla Bolognese, which is also the most important part of the dish. I will start by giving you the list of necessary ingredients for a medium/large casserole sized 33x24x6 cm, a brief description of the main steps will follow.
Ingredients for the Ragù
600 g of bovine meat
400 g of pork
500 g of tomato concentrate/tomato sauce
2 celery stalks
Ingredients for the Béchamel sauce
3 l of milk
180 g of flour
250 g of butter
Ingredients to assemble the lasagna
750 g of lasagna dough (I chose the Giovanni Rana’s “sfogliagrezza”)
150 g of grated Parmesan
The ragù needs to cook for at least 2-3 hours, but the longer the better. First, we need to finely chop the onion, the carrots, and the celery, then we put 3-4 spoons of oil in a pan, big enough to fit the whole amount of meat, and we gently fry the minced mixture until the onion is golden brown. Now we are ready to add the meat, we let it gently fry for a couple of minutes and then add the tomato sauce. At this point, the ragù needs to simmer for a couple of hours. It needs to be regularly checked and stirred. Keep a small pot with boiling water and add a ladleful of it to the sauce to thin it down if necessary. We need a dense ragù sauce so be careful not to thin it too much. Add salt and pepper to taste almost at the end of the cooking.
When the ragù is almost ready, you can start preparing the béchamel sauce, it will take you 10-20 minutes. First, melt the butter over a slow flame, then add the flour a little at a time and keep on mixing for 2/3 minutes. Meanwhile, heat gently the milk and add it a little at a time into the butter-flour compost. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
Now it is time to assemble the lasagna. Start with a thin layer of ragù and a béchamel sauce, then add a layer of dough, then again ragù, béchamel and the grated parmesan. Continue until you finish the dough. The last layer will be composed of ragù, béchamel sauce, a generous amount of parmesan, and some small pieces of butter. Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees for 40 minutes.
It is not a quick recipe, but it is totally worth it!