Italian Food Forever has been online for over twenty-one years now. There have been times over the years when I became tired of blogging. However, I have met so many extraordinary people through my blog and have had so many loyal followers, and for those reasons, I stuck with it. Over the years, I have gone through at least four new blog redesigns, and with each new design, I have to take new photos and retest many of my older recipes. Some recipes, including this lasagna recipe, have never made it back onto the more recent blogs. This tomato-free recipe consists of a rich beef sauce and a creamy béchamel layered between delicate pasta sheets.
I use a thickened beef extract for this sauce, adding the needed richness. The product I use is found only in Italy, but you can use a concentrated beef gravy product such as Better Than Bullion to get the same results.
I tasted this recipe at a restaurant in San Gimignano while traveling in Tuscany when we lived in Milan, Italy, many years ago. I really enjoyed the unique flavor of this lasagna, so when we returned from our trip to Tuscany, I worked at duplicating it in my own kitchen. This recipe is close to the one I enjoyed, and I have made it often over the years. For some reason, though, I had forgotten about it the past year or two. I recently came across it and decided I needed to share it.
- Fresh Pasta Noodles (Store Bought or From Recipe Below)
- Meat Sauce (See Below)
- Béchamel (See Below)
- 1 Cup Shredded Fresh Mozzarella
- 1 Cup Grated Pecorino Cheese
- 4 cups Unbleached Flour
- 5 Extra Large Eggs
- Pinch Of Salt
- 1 Medium Onion, Minced
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 Pounds Of Ground Beef
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons Beef Extract
- 1 1/2 Cups Beef Broth
- 2 Tablespoons Softened Butter Mixed With 2 Tablespoons Flour
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 Cup All-purpose Flour
- 1 1/2 to 2 Cups Milk
- Dash of Nutmeg
- Prepare pasta with ingredients listed. Using a pasta machine take to the second last notch, or to about 1/16th inch thick if making by hand. Cut into sheets and place on clean towels. Precook pasta squares in salted boiling water for 10 seconds only. Immediately place into iced water. Dry and lay on clean kitchen towels until ready to use.
- Sauté the onion in the oil until soft and beginning to color. Add the ground beef and cook for about 10 minutes or until browned. Start adding the broth, scraping any browned bits off the bottom. Cook for about 45 minutes. Begin to add the extract until a full rich beef flavor is reached. Be careful not to add too much or it will be too salty. Carefully adding 1 teaspoon at a time, add the butter mixture, stirring well until the mixture is thickened but still wet. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan add the flour and cook for a minute or two. Do not let brown. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, white pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Set aside to cool, placing a greased piece of plastic wrap on top to prevent film from forming.
- To Prepare The Lasagna: Pour in a little beef broth into a 13 by 8 inch lasagne pan. Layer the noodles along the bottom. Spread one layer of the meat sauce, then another layer of noodles. Spread a layer of béchamel over these noodles then sprinkle with a little of the mozzarella and the pecorino cheese. Continue in this manner until all the noodles are used, topping the dish with the béchamel layer and cheeses. Dot the top with butter and bake in 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned.
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 square
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 873Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 258mgSodium: 848mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 49g