Lasagna from Nonna

Maria, my wife, loves cooking and this authentic Italian lasagna recipe is one of her recipes that I love eating.

Lasagna

Having just spent hours at the table with Maria, her mamma, and the rest of the family enjoying this dish and a little more wine than I should have I am now ready to share the recipe.

They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, this dish proves it to be true.

But first...

An important question...

Which is the best authentic Italian cook book?

Having lived in Italy for ten years and with Maria being Italian and a great cook many of my family and friends in the USA, Australia and the UK ask me for advice as to which Italian cookbooks give you a real "taste" of Italy. Finally I have the answer for you - just click here.

Ingredients

The Lasagna

  • 8 oz. Lasagna sheets, cooked (fresh egg pasta sheets are best)
  • 16 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 1 small stick of celery
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • ground black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • fresh basil sprigs for garnish.

The Bechamel Sauce

  • 1 quart of milk (4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • Pinch of salt, nutmeg and pepper.

Cooking Instructions

Bechamel Sauce

  1. Warm milk - but don't allow it to boil.
  2. Melt butter in another saucepan
  3. Add flour and whisk until all lumps are gone
  4. Pour in the milk and add in salt, nutmeg and pepper.
  5. Whisk until smooth and creamy

Making your Lasagna

  1.  Cook pasta according to package directions or until tender but still firm. Drain, keep warm.
  2.  To make the sauce, in a large saucepan or cast iron skillet, over medium high high heat, saute the onion in the olive oil for 4 minutes. 
  3. Add the lean beef, celery, a touch of salt and black pepper and cook for 10 minutes. 
  4. Add the wine and cook until the wine is almost evaporated. 
  5. Add tomatoes, reduce heat and simmer sauce 35 to 40 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. I often leave it to simmer for as long as possible as the longer it simmers the tastier it is.
  6.  Grease a 9" x 12" or larger, baking pan. Arrange a first layer of bechamel, a layer of the beef tomato sauce,  a layer of pasta sheets, then a little parmesan.
  7. Add a second alternating layer of bechamel, pasta, beef tomato sauce and parmesan. Repeat until pan is full ending up with a top layer of sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil.


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