Sunday, May 17, 2009
Bolognese: So Fun to Say... So Fun to Eat!
Posted by Victoria at 9:22 AM
Lasagna is the ultimate casserole. When I made this the other day, at first I thought, "wow, well I guess I won't be starting my diet anytime soon," but then it occurred to me that this dish was really not that bad. If I went to the effort to calculate Weight Watchers points or something (which I'm not about to do because I'm lazy), it would probably be average at most. I use skim or low-fat milk for the bechamel and in the bolognese, lean ground meats, and with the exception of pasta (1 lb split into 9 or so portions is not bad) and some butter and cheese (again, split into several portions), I felt confident that my dish was acceptable for whatever phantom diet I was starting up. And even if it wasn't, who cares! It was delicious! The cinnamon in the Bolognese is my favorite touch. I highly recommend this version of lasagna next time you're looking for some ooey-gooey comfort.
For the Bolognese:
2 carrots, cut into large pieces
1 onion, cut into large pieces
3 ribs celery, cut into large pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 cup milk (low-fat is fine)
1 cup red wine
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 T. ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Bechamel:
2 cups milk (low-fat is fine), warmed
1/2 stick butter (4 T.)
1/4 cup flour
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound dried lasagna noodles
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced and/or torn into pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Put the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic in a food processor and process until you have a smooth pulp. Warm up some olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable pulp and cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the ground meats, breaking them up in the pan, and cook until the meats are cooked through, continuing to stir and break apart the meat. Add the milk, wine, crushed tomatoes, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours until nice and thick. Taste again, and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside until ready to use.
Meanwhile, for the bechamel, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Whisk and cook until it begins to turn lightly golden. Slowly whisk in the warmed milk. Season with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste, and continue to whisk the sauce and cook until it thickens nicely. Set aside until ready to use.
Boil the lasagna noodles in salted water until slightly cooked. They should NOT be al dente yet. They will cook more in the oven. Alternatively, you can soak the noodles in very hot water for about 20 minutes until they are pliable. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread a little bechamel on the bottom of a 13x9" pan. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles. Then spread more bechamel, a third of the Bolognese sauce, and a third of the mozzarella. Add another layer of noodles, and repeat two more layers, finishing with the last third of mozzarella. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan and then bake for 50-60 minutes until the lasagna is bubbly and the cheese has browned nicely. Wait about 15 minutes before cutting and serving the lasagna.