We cycled home from work and couldn’t decide whether to have Lasagne for dinner or spaghetti alle vongole as Waitrose FINALLY had some clams in stock. We also couldn’t agree on a lasagne recipe as we had different methods – I preferred the traditional Italian recipe for the ragu and bechamel and he liked to use cheese instead of bechamel and add in some chunks of salami.
We finally decided on a whim to make both the spaghetti and the lasagne and my recipe was chosen as it required fewer ingredients!!
We ate one of the best meals we’ve ever had together, accompanied by tiny glasses of white wine and some Dean Martin on in the background to create a very romatic mood. I couldn’t help at one point thinking of that scene in Lady and the Tramp! By the time we finished cooking & eating it was around midnight and we were absolutely shattered. What a great way to spend an evening though!
I posted a recipe in a previous blog post so don’t want to repeat it, but here are some pics!
1/2 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
120g cubetti di pancetta
Cracked black pepper
400g minced beef
1 garlic clove
200ml white wine
3 bay leaves
400g tomato passata
6 tbsp tomato purée
Lasagne sheets (fresh or dried)
Fry the onions until soft in a pan with olive oil, then add the chopped carrots, garlic, bay leaves and pancetta. Let them sizzle away together for 5 minutes then add the mince and let it fry for a while, browning on the outside. Add the tomato passata, white wine, tomato puree, salt and pepper, put a lid on the pan and let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, heat the butter in a frying pan and then add the flour to the melted butter, stirring to mix it together, then add salt, pepper, a bay leaf and the nutmeg. Once it is all mixed together, add the milk very slowly, stirring constantly. It should reach quite a thick consistency. There needs to be enough to place below each layer of pasta and above too so dont worry about adding too much milk. More is always best!
Once the ragu is cooked, dip your fresh lasagne sheets of pasta in hot water for a minute each before starting to layer together your culinary masterpiece!
Ragu, then bechamel, then pasta, then bechamel then ragu…. continue like that until you reach the top of the oven dish. You should finish off with a layer of pasta, a layer of bechamel and then sprinkle the parmesan on top before placing in the oven. Keep some parmesan aside to put on the lasagne after as well.
I don’t really reccommend eating both dishes straight after one another, but if you do, make sure to clean the kitchen before eating, and have someone to carry you to bed! A pasta coma is serious stuff!