Monday, November 15, 2010

Lasagna, salad and Meringues

Saturday we had our BFFs from Milan over for the day (2.5 hour drive each way, with kids, they love us!) and since one of my friends is a food blogger (an actual food blogger, who posts recipes that usually don’t involve pre-made stuff, unlike yours truly! Check her out at Nuts about food) I went into a bit of a panic when I realized I was going to have to cook… actual, real food… for everyone… yikes! So I made a Lasagna… and salad… and the husband bought dessert… I shouldn’t even have a food section on this blog!
Also, I made it with ready-made pasta sheets, it comes out quite well, but it’s nothing compared to making it with homemade pasta. My mom used to make several lasagnas at a time (due to the hassle of making fresh pasta) and freeze them, I’m planning on following in her footsteps as soon as I manage to empty my freezer of the insane amounts of homemade vegetable puree cubes and jars for the baby… any day now…
Anyway, here’s the Lasagna, it tasted about a gazillion times better than it looks!
This is what you need:
I made two lasagnas which worked out great cause there was nothing left when we were done with them! But the ingredients here are for just one lasagna.
1 largish square or ideally rectangular casserole dish (or similar)
250 grams thin fresh pasta sheets for lasagna (I used Giovanni Rana Sfogliavelo pasta fresca per lasagna)
Approx 350 grams (1 cup) white béchamel sauce (you can make your own or use store bought, it’s insanely easy to make but the advantage of store bought is that you don’t see how much butter actually goes in there!)
800 grams ragù sauce – meat and tomato sauce – I will be posting the recipe asap, but not today, as I used some that I had in the freezer this time.
40 grams butter
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 – 8 cheese slices (I used sottilette classiche, but you can use any sandwich-type cheese, even cheddar is good, though not very Italian)

This is what you do:
Preheat oven to 180°C (325°F).
If you’re not pre-cooking your fresh pasta (I didn’t) sprinkle some water on the bottom of your casserole dish so that there’s some moisture to cook the pasta and add about half the butter cut in small uneven slivers. Then arrange the first layer of pasta, I like mine to come up the sides so that the filling stays put when it’s cooking and the layers stay separate, but this is neither customary nor traditional.
Set aside about one ladle-full of béchamel and mix the rest with a couple of ladle-fulls of ragù, so it’s pink (henceforth this will be referred to as the pink mixture). I do this because I like my lasagna quite meaty and it seems to me like it’s not as heavy with less béchamel, but you can alternate a layer of regular ragù with a layer of just béchamel (this would be the correct way, just adjust the amount of béchamel to about 500grams).

Now spread about a ladle-full of pink mixture as your first layer and add two or three slices of cheese down the middle, then layer the pasta. You’ll need one or two sheets depending on the size of your casserole dish – I used 1 ½ pasta sheets per layer. Then add a ladle-full of ragù and sprinkle with parmesan, another layer of pasta, a layer of pink mixture and cheese, and so on and so forth.

Make sure you set aside two whole pasta sheets for the top (I didn’t… so I ended up using some of the cuttings, hence my wonky looking lasagna).

When you finish all your sauce, add the last two sheets of pasta, sprinkle with water and add the rest of the béchamel sauce. Cut the rest of your butter in slivers and distribute and sprinkle generously with parmesan cheese.
Nobody ever claimed that this dish was light, or adequate for a diet… but it’s really, really yummy! Plus, kids will eat it.  I served it with a Spinach, iceberg lettuce and fennel salad dressed with lemon, oil and salt and spruced up with some crumbled feta cheese and dried cranberries.

Oh, and this was the dessert:

Fresh whipped cream meringues from Arione Pastry shop here in Cuneo. U.N.B.E.L.I.E.V.A.B.L.E.


  1. sluurp.....che fame.....avrei dovuto chiederti il doggy bag!! Baci Cla

  2. Yum! The lasagne looks delicious and mouth is watering over those meringues!

  3. Jessica Anne, thanks for visiting! The lasagne is truly easy to make and fantastic for kids, the meringues... Not so much...

    Cla, non ce n'era piu', neanche l'ombra!

  4. Ok, I am the BFF and food blogger (am I? I have never called myself that and do not feel entitled to using the expression somehow). I want to clarify a few things:
    1) we do love these guys, I am ready to do it all over again next week end!
    2) the lasagna was REALLY good (like pretty much everything I have tasted cooked/baked by you!)
    3) if there was anybody to be intimidated by it was the above BFF Cla, whose grandma was a true Romagnola who made homemade lasagna from scratch for about 80 years (I haven't had the guts to yet)
    4) I have never made pasta from scratch for my lasagna. I will try one day, and admire those who do (and I am sure it takes them to another level), but a) I have a life; b) in Italy you can buy ready made lasagna sheets in pretty much any form - dry, fresh, thinner, thiscker etc. - so why bother?
    5) oh my, don't start me on those meringues. I am not a fan normally but those were to die for!

  5. God this looks amazing...screw dieting ;P

  6. Have never dared to try a lasagne before, but your post (with v helpful pics!) makes me think I ought to. Thanks for sharing.


  7. Have never dared to try a lasagne before, but your post (with v helpful pics!) makes me think I ought to. Thanks for sharing.