Mikee Speciale: Lasagne alla Bolognese is worth the wait
It is 10pm and I am only just about to eat. Mikee’s debut into the blogosphere has been an epic one, which started since around midday today! Mikee’s infamous lasagne is a fitting one for him to start with since his culinary heart lies in Italy. I always leave the Italian food to him as he lived in Italy for 6 years and has quite rightfully claimed the country’s cuisine as his own in our kitchen.
The recipe is a hybrid of a Jamie Oliver one from Jamie’s Italy and an Italian cookbook called Salse, which he used for the Bolognese sauce because Jamie’s recipe calls for the meat from 1 hen pheasant, 1 duck, 1 pigeon, 1 wild rabbit and some venison – ingredients I don’t think we could have tracked down, even at the farmer’s market!
If we used Mikee’s lasagne as a benchmark for deliciousness (very high on the scale!), had we gathered all of the ingredients Jamie’s recipe required, we would be in for quite an exquisite dinner.
This recipe’s one for the weekend because it’s quite time intensive but it’s definitely one to try out, especially now that the winter is setting in. Brrrr…
200g minced pork
200g minced beef
200g Italian sausage meat
Packet of spinach lasagne sheets
Packet of egg lasagne sheets
Block of Parmesan cheese
2x 150g mozzarella balls torn up
A handful of fresh sage leaves
Ingredients for the tomato sauce:
1 celery stalk (but could put 2 in), finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
A sprig of rosemary
3 bay leaves
Teaspoon of oregano
300ml red wine
3x 400g tins of good quality plum tomatoes
For the white sauce:
1 litre milk
1 sprig of fresh parsley
A pinch of nutmeg
½ an onion peeled and sliced
6 black peppercorns
65g plain flour
150g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
-Heat a pan on moderate heat and add a splash of olive oil
-Slowly fry the celery for around 5 minutes
-Add the garlic and gently brown
-Add the sausage meat, pork and beef and cook until browned
-Turn up the heat and pour in the wine. Cook for a few minutes until it reduces a little
-Add bay leaves, oregano and tinned tomatoes and stir well.
-Simmer for a few hours (we simmered for about 3 hours but you could probably do it for less if you don’t have the time)
-When the Bolognese sauce is nearly done, put the milk, parsley, nutmeg, onion and black peppercorns into a saucepan and bring gently to the boil
-Melt butter in a third pan, add flour and mix well.
-Strain the milk and add a ladleful at a time into the butter, stirring well until you have a thick smooth white sauce.
-Bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes before taking it off the heat.
-Add the Parmesan and season well.
-When the Bolognese sauce is done, remove the rosemary and the bay leaves.
-Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and butter a large baking dish
-Boil a pot of salted water with some oil in it and blanch 2 – 3 lasagne sheets (depending on the size of your baking dish)
-Line the bottom of the dish with the sheets, top with the Bolognese sauce, then white sauce, and then some Parmesan cheese.
-Repeat with the other layers (and alternating the spinach and egg sheets) until you’ve run out of the meat sauce (but keep enough white sauce for the final layer)
-Put one last layer of sheets on top, top that with white sauce, Parmesan, mozzarella cheese, sage and a drizzle of olive oil.
-Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.