Lasagne

  • Preparation Time135 mins
  • Cooking Time55 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyEasy

For the bolognese sauce

4 tbsps olive oil
1.3kg beef shanks (on the bone)
1.3kg pork shanks (on the bone)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
340g pancetta, finely diced
340g Spanish onion, finely diced
110g carrot, finely diced
110g celery, finely diced
4 whole garlic cloves
250ml dry red wine
700ml homemade beef or chicken stock
1 (425g) tin diced tomatoes and their juices
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
250ml tomato sauce, recipe follows
Fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Fresh basil leaves, chopped

For the ricotta mixture

720g ricotta, strained in a cheesecloth lined strainer for at least 4 hours
2 large eggs
4 tbsps fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 tbsps fresh basil leaves, chopped
40g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato sauce

3 tbsps olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
2 (795g) tins crushed tomatoes
1 (425g) tin diced tomatoes
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsps fresh parsley leaves, chopped
3 tbsps fresh basil leaves, chopped

For the bechamel (mornay) sauce

30g unsalted butter
2 tbsps plain flour
475ml to 590ml whole milk, heated
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
75g Fontina cheese, freshly grated
50g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

For the assembly

30g unsalted butter
Bechamel (mornay) sauce, recipe above
4 fresh sheets pasta, cooked for 2 to 3 minutes in boiling, salted water, drained or 450g lasagna noodles, cooked in boiling, salted water until slightly under al dente, about 5 minutes
Ricotta mixture, recipe above
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Fresh basil leaves
Bolognese sauce, recipe above
Bolognese sauce:

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat.

2) Season the shanks on both sides with salt and pepper, place in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side.

3) Remove the shanks to a plate. Remove the fat from the pan. Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until golden brown. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with kitchen towels.

4) Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the pan and cook until soft and lightly golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

5) Add the red wine, scrape the bottom of the pan and cook until completely reduced. Add the beef stock, diced tomatoes, thyme, rosemary and parsley and bring to a simmer. Add the shanks and one third of the pancetta back to the pan, cover and transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat is tender and falling off the bone, about 2 hours.

6) Remove the shanks to a cutting board and when cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl.

7) Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl. Place 700ml of the cooking liquid into a large high-sided sauté pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the liquid is reduced to about 175ml. Add the shredded meat and the remaining cooked pancetta to the pan, along with 240ml of the tomato sauce, parsley and basil. Stir to combine and just heat through.

Ricotta mixture:

Combine the ricotta, eggs, parsley, basil, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to meld.

Tomato sauce:

1) Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the onions and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and red chili flakes and cook for 1 minute.

2) Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and basil.

Bechamel (mornay) sauce:

1) Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and let cook for about 2 minutes.

2) Slowly whisk in 475ml of the hot milk and continue whisking until the sauce is thickened and loses its raw flavour, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper and whisk in the cheeses. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in some of the remaining milk.

For Assembly:

1) Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Butter the bottom and sides of a 23 by 33-cm baking dish with the butter.

2) Ladle a thin layer of the bechamel evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place a layer of pasta dough, cut to fit the inside of the pan, on top of the bechamel. Top the pasta with the ricotta mixture and spread evenly. Spread a thin layer of the bechamel over the ricotta, sprinkle with a few tablespoons of Parmesan and some basil leaves. Top with another layer of pasta and spread the meat mixture evenly over the top. Ladle an even layer of bechamel over the bolognese mixture, sprinkle with a few tablespoons of Parmesan and some basil leaves. Place the final layer of pasta dough over the meat mixture and ladle the bechamel over the top to completely cover the pasta. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of Parmesan.

3) Place the pan on a baking sheet and cover loosely with aluminium foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180C/Gas 4, remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 25 to 35 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Cut into slices and top with some of the tomato sauce, more grated cheese and chopped parsley and basil.

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