As I’m editing photos to create this blog post, I can feel my stomach rumbling. You are not alone when you tell me our blog makes you feel hungry! In any case, some of you may know that we made lasagna and manicotti on the same night, however, I am saving the manicotti post for next time since I don’t want to overwhelm everyone! Granted, this meal is definitely not on the low-calorie side, but it’s okay to splurge once in a while, right?
A few days before we actually made the lasagna dinner for some friends, we already prepared the bolognese sauce. Reason being is that this sauce takes all day to make!
Start by browning 2 lbs of ground beef in a large pot (remove excess fat if desired). Then saute diced onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
After we added the big can of tomato sauce in the pot, we left it simmering on low heat for - and I'm not kidding - 12 hours. Stir occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn and DO add fresh herbs, like basil, oregano, and thyme.
After half the day is over, you'll see that the sauce will be reduced down quite a bit (see how there's a rim around the pot above the sauce?). Now the sauce is ready to be refrigerated until it's needed for the lasagna!
Bechamel sauce is a basic sauce that is traditionally used as a layer for lasagna. To do this, melt 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, add 1/4 cup of flour and whisk until smooth.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns golden brown, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 3 cups of milk in a separate pan until it is just about to boil, then add the milk to the butter mixture, whisking continuously until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 seconds longer. Season with 2 tsps of salt and 1/2 tsp of nutmeg.
For the lasagna, we wanted to make it somewhat healthy, so we added sliced zucchini and eggplant.
Now the fun part begins! Start layering the baking dish with the bolognese sauce, pasta, bechamel sauce, vegetables, ricotta cheese, romano cheese, and grated parmigiano-reggiano.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes.
Alas, you will know when it's done when the top is golden brown and the casserole is bubbling. Let it cool down for about 20 minutes before slicing (easier said than done).
Well, it looks like our friends would rather burn their mouths than wait for that 20-minute cool-down period. We all enjoyed the lasagna, and sadly, there wasn't much left. Stay tuned for my next update on the lobster-stuffed manicotti with alfredo sauce. It is to-die-for.