It’s unspeakably cold outside. My tiny dog Albert refuses to go outside, and I’m reduced to following him around with a paper towel and a bottle of Nature’s Miracle. It seems as if Spring will never come.
The only thing I want right now is a big dish of Green Lasagna Bolognese a la Marcella Hazan. This is her recipe with a few tweaks of my own. Try and find DeCecco Spinach Lasagna. It’s worth the hunt!
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
16 ounces Spinach Lasagna Noodles
3 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter
4 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tb. oil
3 Tb. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
2/3 c. chopped celery
2/3 c. chopped carrot
3/4 lb. ground beef chuck (not too lean)
1 c. whole milk
1 c. dry white wine
1 large can San Marzano-style Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juices
2 tablespoons honey
Put oil, butter and onion in pot and turn heat to medium. Cook until onion is translucent, then add celery and carrot. Cook for 2 min.
Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt, & a few grindings of pepper. Crumble the meat with a fork and cook until beef has lost its raw, red color.
Add the milk and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add about 1/8 tsp. nutmeg and stir.
Add the wine, let simmer until evaporated, then add the tomatoes and honey. When tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down and cook uncovered at the merest simmer for a long, long time (no less than 3 hours!). Stir from time to time. If it starts to stick, add 1/2 c. water whenever necessary.
Put milk in a saucepan, turn heat to medium, and bring to the verge of a boil.
While heating milk, put butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and turn heat to low. When melted, add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook, while stirring constantly, for about 2 min. Do not allow flour to color. Remove from heat.
Add the hot milk to the flour/butter mixture, no more than 2 Tb. at a time. Stir steadily and thoroughly. Once the first 2 Tb. have been incorporated, repeat this process 2 Tb. at a time until 1/2 c. has been incorporated. Then, you can begin adding milk 1/2 c. at a time until all incorporated.
Place the pan over low heat, add salt, and cook, stirring constantly until sauce is like thickened (like the consistency of sour cream).
Preheat oven to 400.
Cook pasta until barely al dente. Place immediately into cold water to stop cooking. Dry noodles before placing into pan.
Spread the bottom of a 9″x12″ lasagna pan with 1 Tb. of bechamel. Line the bottom of pan with one layer of noodles.
Combine the bolognese and bechamel sauces and spread a coating on the pasta. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan, then add another layer of noodles. Repeat the procedure of spreading sauce and Parmesan and noodles. There should be about six layers. Leave enough sauce to spread a thin layer on top at the end. Sprinkle with Parmesan and dot with butter. (This can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated.)
Bake on top rack until golden crust forms on top, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to settle for 10 min. before serving.