Really Good Lasagna

November 2, 2010 by andrea | Filed under Beef, Comfort Food, Italian, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipes.

Really Good Lasagna may be a goofy name for a recipe but it’s true…it really is good! Instead of using ricotta cheese like many lasagna recipes, this one layers lasagna noodles with a meat sauce, a creamy Parmesan white sauce, and Fontina cheese.  The resulting lasagna is creamier than the version most of us have had. It’s not just good, it’s GREAT! (Apologies for the photo…it doesn’t do the lasagna justice!)

For the meat sauce, if you don’t have prosciutto, don’t bother running to the store for it. The sauce is still delicious without it. Also, I usually use 1 lb. ground beef instead of meat loaf mix.

I found a type of fresh lasagna noodles that I like so I use those instead of the oven-ready type. When making the lasagna this time, I got distracted while layering the ingredients so it became a free for all…the layers weren’t exactly as the recipe stated but it’s a casserole so it all turned out fine. I served the lasagna with roasted winter squash, green salad, and sauteed broccoli with pine nuts and a splash of balsamic vinegar. YUMM!

Really Good Lasagna
-recipe from Perfect Recipes for Having People Over by Pam Anderson

I’ve developed a lasagna that’s simple yet exceptional: casual enough to serve at a potluck, friendly enough to take to a neighbor, refined enough to serve as part of a sit-down dinner.

Instead of having the usual overbearing red sauce and blobs of ricotta cheese, it’s layered with two sauces — a rich, meaty Bolognese and a bold white sauce punched up with garlic and Parmesan cheese. And the more assertive Fontina takes the place of the mozzarella. The lasagna may be easy to make, but it’s hardly ordinary. Serves 12.

Bolognese-Style Sauce
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, cut into small dice
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
1 small celery stalk, cut into small dice
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into small dice
1 pound meat loaf mix (or ground turkey or ground beef)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 cup whole milk
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

Parmesan White Sauce
2 1/2 cups (2% or whole) milk
1 cup chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black Pepper

Lasagna
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
15 oven-ready (rippled-style, such as Ronzoni) lasagna noodles (from two 8-ounce packages)
8 ounces Fontina cheese, grated (about 2 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

To make Bolognese sauce: Heat butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook until just soft, about 3 minutes. Add prosciutto and saute until vegetables are fully softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add ground meat and cook, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and stirring frequently, until it loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Add vermouth and simmer until almost evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally and adding water as necessary, until reduced to a thick but not gloppy sauce, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat.

To make white sauce: Combine milk, broth, and garlic in a 2-quart Pyrex measuring cup or a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a small plate, and microwave until steamy hot, 8 to 10 minutes (or heat in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat).

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, whisk in flour until well blended. Pour in hot milk all at once; whisk vigorously until sauce is smooth and starts to bubble and thicken. Stir in Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and place plastic wrap directly on sauce’s surface.

To assemble and bake lasagna: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425° degrees.

Dissolve salt in 2 quarts hot tap water in a 13″x9″ baking dish. Add noodles and soak until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain noodles and stack loosely. (Noodles may stick together as they dry but will pull apart easily.) Wipe baking dish dry.

Smear 1/4 cup white sauce over bottom of baking dish. Top with a layer of 3 noodles, then 2/3 cup white sauce, 1 cup meat sauce, 1/2 cup Fontina, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Repeat 3 times, then make a final layer with remaining noodles, white sauce, and cheeses. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake until very hot throughout, about 30 minutes. Leaving pan on rack, remove foil and turn oven to broil. Watching carefully, broil lasagna until cheese and sauce are spotty brown. Remove from oven and let stand to set, 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into portions and serve.

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One Response to “Really Good Lasagna”

  1. […] I love broccoli but sometimes I want to serve something a little fancier than the plain ol’ steamed version. This recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare and makes a nice side dish to many other meals. I served it most recently with Really Good Lasagna. […]