Lasagna Verdi alla Bolognese

Meat

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 celery rib, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 ounces chopped pancetta
  • 1/3 pound ground beef 
  • 1/3 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/4 pound mortadella, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup beef broth
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Green Pasta
  • 1 small bunch spinach , stems trimmed (or 1/2 cup of frozen)
  • Fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups “00” flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
BECHAMEL
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  •  
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, more to taste
  • 1/2 cup smoked Scamorza or Provolone
FOR SAUCE: Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery and pancetta and cook, stirring, until vegetables are lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef, ground pork and prosciutto and cook until beef is no loner pink. Stir in the tomato paste, broth, and wine and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pan, and cook the sauce at a low simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. (The sauce may be made up to 2 days ehad; cover and refrigerate it, and bring the sauce to room temperature before assembling the lasagne.)
FOR PASTA: Rinse spinach leaves in several changes of cold water; do not dry. Put leaves in a medium saucepan with pinch salt, and cook, covered, over medium heat until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain spinach and let cool, then gently squeeze out excess liquid and very finely chop.
On a clean work surface, mound the flour and form a well in the center. Add the egg, olive oil, a pinch of salt and the spinach to the well. Using a fork, gently break up yolk and slowly incorporate flour from inside rim of well. Continue until liquid is absorbed. When the dough gets to stiff to work with a fork, knead the dough by hand until the dough is no longer sticky, adding additional flour in 1 tablespoon increments as necessary. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. 
Cut the dough into 2 pieces. Flatten 1 piece of dough so that it will fit through the rollers of a pasta machine. Set rollers of pasta machine at the widest setting, then feed pasta through rollers 3 or 4 times, folding and turning pasta until it is smooth and the width of the machine. Roll pasta through machine, decreasing the setting one notch at a time (do not fold or turn pasta), until pasta sheet is scant 1/16 inch thick. Cut sheet into rectangles the width of the pasta roller and 7 inches long. Lay the lasagna noodles on a lightly floured baking sheet in a single layer until ready to use. (Lay noodles that don’t fit on another layer separated by lightly floured wax paper or kitchen parchment.) Do the same with the second piece of pasta dough. 
FOR BECHAMEL: Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook, stirring, until golden. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring the mixture to just under a boil. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Remove from the heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter and stir to combine. If not using the béchamel immediately, let it cool, cover it with plastic wrap and set aside. 
Heat the oven to 400°.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and have ready a large bowl of ice water. Add the lasagna sheets, a few at a time, to the boiling water. Cook until the noodles float to the top of the surface, about 15 seconds. Immediately remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the ice water to keep from overcooking. Drain well and lightly pat dry with a kitchen towel. 
Cover a 11” x 7” by 2” rectangular baking dish (or similar size gratin dish) with an initial layer of lasagna, overlapping the noodles slightly and letting any excess hang over the sides. 
Cover with about one-fifth of each: the Bolognese sauce, the béchamel, and the cheese. Cover with another layer of pasta, trimming the noodles if necessary so they fit snug in the dish. Top with another layer of sauce, béchamel, and cheese. Repeat this step two more times for a total of four layers, saving some sauce, béchamel, and cheese for the top.
To finish, fold any overflowing lasagna pasta over the dish. Top with the remaining sauce, béchamel, and cheese. 
Bake until the top is brown and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let the lasagne rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. 

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