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Lasagne Pasticciata

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Marissa View Drop Down
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    Posted: 29 February 2012 at 17:49
NOTE - Scroll down for original recipes

We embarked on our tour of Foods of the World: The Cooking of Italy by starting with a recipe from the North in a region called Emilia-Romagna.



This region lays claim to the original lasagna as well as several other pastas like tortellini (but who knows who really came up with them though). They also produce the only true Parmigiano-Reggiano - all others must use the more generic name Parmesan cheese (Parma, a city in the region, is responsible for the name).

So we chose lasagne pasticciata, a traditional dish made with pasta con uova (egg noodles), ragu bolognese (bolognese sauce - a hearty meat sauce) and besciamella (white sauce).

We started the ragu bolognese at midday since it was a 4 hours sauce. I admit that I did not follow the recipe in the Italian cookbook. It called for veal and chicken livers. While I feel I'm pretty adventurous, this was my first meat meal after nearly a life time of vegetarianism so I was a bit squeamish about organ meats. Plus, I have NO idea where to get the type of veal that is produced in Italy - calves raised with their mothers until slaughter. I didn't even see veal in either of the stores I went to this week. So I used an adaptation of a recipe from the new Cooks Illustrated Cookbook I got for Christmas. It simmered all day and made the house smell delicious!

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Ragu bolognese

Makes about 2 ½ cups

5 tbsp butter
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
2 tbsp minced carrot
2 tbsp minced celery
6 ounces ground beef
6 ounces ground pork
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28 –ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, tomatoes chopped fine

Melt 3 tbsp butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the ground meats and the salt and cook, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the milk, bring to a simmer, and cook until the milk evaporates and only rendered fat remains, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in wine, bring to a simmer and cook until wine evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and reserved tomato juice and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low so that the sauce continues to summer just barely, with occasional bubble or two at surface, until liquid has evaporated, about 3 hours. Season with salt to taste. (we didn’t need any more salt)

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Next, we made the pasta according to the recipe posted here. We rolled the dough through the pasta machine and made thin sheets. We rolled out sheets to the second to thinnest setting.

---------------------------------

To cook the pasta:

6 to 8 quarts water
1 tbsp salt
1/2 lb lasagna [I used the entire ¾ lb from the above recipe – not sure if this is a dry or wet weight!]

In a large soup pot or kettle, bring the water and salt to a bubbling boil over high heat. Add the lasagna, stirring gently for a few moments with a wooden fork to be sure the strips do not stick to one another. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the lasagne is tender, but still al dente, or somewhat resistant to the bite – the time may vary between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on whether you use homemade or commercial lasagna. Set the pot under cold running water for a few minutes to cool the pasta. Then lift out the strips and spread them side by side on paper towels to drain.

-----------------------------

While the pasta was cooking, we made the besciamella sauce:

---------------------------

Besciamella for Lasagna

3 tbsp butter
6 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt

In a heavy 2- to 3- quart saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat and stir in the flour. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the milk and cream all at once, beating with a wire whick until the flour is partially disooveld. Return the pan to high heat and cook, stirring constantly with the whisk. When the sauce comes to a boil and thickens into a smooth cream, reduce the heat and simmer, still stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with nutmeg and salt.

-------------------

Hubby was very apprehensive about a lasagna that essentially had no cheese in it (there's a sprinkling of parmesan on top). But after making the white sauce, we realized there was no need for cheese! It's thick and tasty.

Finally, on to the actual lasagna direction!

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Lasagne Pasticciate
Baked Lasagna with meat and cream sauces

To serve 6 to 8

Lasagna as above
Besciamella sauce [came out to 3 cups]
2 1/2 cups ragu bolognese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-12-by-3 inch serving casserole or baking dish [we didn’t think it was going to make enough so we used a 9x9x3 – I think it worked perfectly].

Spread a layer of ragu bolognese about 1/4 inch deep evenly over the bottom of the buttered casserole. Spread over it about 1 cup besciamella. Lay one third of the lasagna on the besciamella, overlapping the strips slightly. Repeat the layers of ragu, besciamella and lasagna two more times, then tops with the rest of the ragu and a masking of besciamella. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling hot.

----------------

We found the homemade lasagna to be INCREDIBLY flimsy and fussy to deal with. Maybe we just made it too thin, but we ended up needing the whole batch, so I’m not sure. The assembly was a bit of a nightmare, but well worth the effort!

We served it with some Caesar salad from the Foods of the World: Cooking of America book even though I now know that's an American invention - it just seems to go with Italian food!



We will most certainly be making this again. But it was so incredibly rich, you could only have one little piece. It was just so creamy - that was certainly the overpowering flavor. The recipe ends up with 3 cups of white sauce and 2.5 cups of meat sauce. I'd like to keep the filling at the same level (5.5 cups) but use 2 cups of white sauce and 3.5 cups of meat sauce next time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2012 at 11:35
i love the way that picture, and i am willing to bet that it tasted twice as good as it looks!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 March 2012 at 11:55
It was great! I figure I should add this comment here too:

We froze the last few pieces of the lasagna since we had our cream fill for the week. Let's see...looking at notes - it was two months ago. I just sliced the pieces as if to serve, then froze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen solid, I put them in a ziplock freezer bag with as much of the air removed as possible.

Yesterday, I realized I had no leftovers for lunch so grabbed a piece of lasagna from the freezer. I microwaved it from the frozen state and it was just as good as before!

Love recipes that freeze well!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2012 at 11:00

Lovely ... I  am glad we just had cornbeef marinated in Guiness stout with the Vet, the Irish colleague and her Spanish beau ... or I would take out the lasagne sheets and run to supermarket for the other ingredients that I do not have to make this lasagne ... This recipe is also very popular in Sicilia and Greece, as they create baked macaroni pastas with meat similar to a lasagne however, not using lasagne sheets. In Greek they are called PASTITSIO.

I shall give your recipe a try -- Saturday is always Italian day, pasta day ...
 
Happy 17th. Thanks for posting.
Margi.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2012 at 05:22

Marissa, that looks so outstanding, you almost make me drool over my keyboard.

We would call that dish simply "lasagne bolognaise" but your Italian name of the dish sounds so much sexier. I notice you also use some cream in the bechamel. I learned just recently that the cream in that sauce seems to be the trick, the little secret used by many Italians to make their besciamella and the whole dish taste even more delicious. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2012 at 05:58
Marissa,
 
Good Morning.
 
Though your recipe is lovely and I am sure delicious, in Emilia Romagna they do not employ beef as it is not part of this culture and the recipe for tourism from the Government Italian Ministry of Agriculture in Emilia Romagna. In Italia, and other Mediterranean countries, the government, due to heavy crisis in southern Europe particularly, have documented the GASTRONOMY OF THE 4 COUNTRIES, SPAIN, ITALIA, PORTUGAL AND GREECE, to promote tourism here. There is 23% unemployment in Spain -- the highest. 14% Greece and 9 % Italia and Portugal 9% .
 
Though some countries and regions, do not have a VEAL CULTURE, Italy does, especially Emilia Romagna, and do not use beef in their lasagne.
 
In Spain, they do NOT have a veal culture, thus, beef is used in home made bolognese in homes.
 
This dish had originated in Greece where beef is used. Though it is a lasagne bolonese sort of, it is not to Italians.
 
Thanks for posting it and I have made Bolognese with beef in Spain, however, never at the condo in Italy ...  Just thought to tell you.
 
Have nice Sunday.
Margi.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marissa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2012 at 12:08
Yes, Margi as I said in my post, the original recipe called for veal. But I cannot find veal here so I followed a recipe from a different cookbook for that sauce that had beef in it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2012 at 13:56
And if you had found it, Marissa, it would have taken a second mortgage to make this lasagna.
 
Whether or not it's strictly authentic, most Bolognese sauce, at least in the United States, is made with beef rather than the more traditional veal. So you done OK.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivmar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 February 2017 at 13:27
Hi Marissa 
I was doing a search for the lasagna recipe from Foods of the World, Italy and I came across your posting.  I was so excited but upon reading your recipe I see that you did not print the actual recipe from the book, but your own version of it.  And it looks great!  However, since I misplaced my own book, I have had requests from my family to make this again and so, of course, I would like to use the original recipe.  Is there any way that I could persuade you to post the original recipe for me?  I see that this posting of yours is from 2012 and it is now 2017.  So maybe you do not post to this forum anymore.  But, I will try to be very optimistic and hope that you do.  I would so very much appreciate it if you could post the original recipe from this book, The Cooking of Italy from Foods of the World by TIMELIFE Books.  Thanks so much
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 February 2017 at 08:51
Hello, Vivmar, and welcome to the FotW Forum!

Unfortunately, we haven't heard from Marissa in a while; but as luck would have it, I do own this book, and would be happy to post the recipe. Please do give me a day or two to do so; but if I haven't done it by then, please also do remind me. The last week of each month is rather busy at Casa de TasunkaWitko, and I tend to forget things.

Until then, please feel free to look around, and make yourself at home!

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ajea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 March 2017 at 23:24
Hello, TasunkaWitko,

I second Vivmar's request. I have been looking for the original recipe as well.

I know it's a hassle to copy of recipe, but maybe you can take a picture with your phone and upload?

Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2017 at 09:35
Good morning, Vivmar and ajea -

I have managed to transcribe the recipes as you requested. All credit, of course, goes to Time-Life Books, and I heartily recommend purchasing them, either through Amazon, eBay or similar online sources. The Italian volume is one of the first four books that I purchased, and those books led me to an incredible journey!

Note that for Lasagne Pasticciate, the cream is left out of the Ragù Bolognese. If you are going to put the ragù on pasta, then the cream should be added.

Originally posted by Time Life Books Time Life Books wrote:

Lasagne Pasticciate
Baked Lasagne With Meat And Cream Sauces

From Time-Life’s Foods of the World - The Cooking of Italy, 1968

To serve 6 to 8:

For the Lasagne:

6 to 8 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 pound lasagne noodles


For the Besciamella for Lasagne:

6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3.5 cups ragù bolognese (below)
1/2 cup freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese


Lasagne:

Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-x-12-x-3-inch serving casserole or baking dish. In a large soup pot or kettle, bring the water and salt to a bubbling boil over high heat. Add the lasagne, stirring gently for a few moments with a wooden fork to be sure the strips do not stick to one another. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the lasagne is tender, but still al dente, or somewhat resistant to the bite - the time may vary between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on whether you use homemade or commercial lasagne. Set the pot under cold running water for a few moments to cool the pasta. Then lift out the strips and spread them side-by-side on paper towels to drain.


Besciamella for Lasagne:

In a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat and stir in the flour. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the milk and cream all at once, beating with a wire whisk until the flour is partially dissolved. Return the pan to high heat and cook, stirring constantly with the whisk. When the sauce comes to a boil and thickens into a smooth cream, reduce the heat and simmer, still stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with nutmeg and salt.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread a layer of ragù bolognese (made without cream) about 1/4-inch deep evenly over the bottom of the buttered casserole. Spread over it about 1 cup of besciamella. Lay one third of the lasagne on the besciamella, overlapping the strips slightly. Repeat the layers of ragù, besciamella and lasagne twice more; top with the rest of the ragù and besciamella. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling hot.



Ragù Bolognese
North Italian Meat Sauce

To make about 3.5 cups:

1/4 pound smoked ham, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1/4 cup coarsely chopped carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound beef round, ground twice
1/4 pound lean pork, ground twice
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock, fresh or canned
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 pound chicken livers
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the chopped ham, onions, carrots and celery on a cutting board, and chop into very small pieces. (This mixture is called a battuto, when cooked it is a soffritto.) Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat in a heavy, 10- to 12-inch skillet. When the foam subsides, add the battuto and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until it is lightly browned. With a rubber spatula, put the soffritto in a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same skillet, and lightly brown the ground beef and the pork over moderate heat, stirring the meat constantly to break up any lumps. Pour in the wine, increase the heat, and boil briskly, still stirring constantly, until almost all of the liquid has cooked away. Add the meat to the soffritto in the saucepan, and stir in the stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, over high heat melt 2 more tablespoons of butter in the original skillet, and when the foam subsides, add the chicken livers. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, or until they are firm and lightly browned. Chop the chicken livers into small dice, set aside, and add them to the sauce 10 minutes before it is done. A few minutes before serving, stir in the cream and let it heat through. Taste the ragù and season it with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve on pasta or - without the cream - use it in lasagne pasticciate.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ajea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2017 at 09:51
Thank you! Thank you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2017 at 09:53
You're most welcome!

If/when you make this, please do tell us about the experience, and post a photo, if possible!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ajea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2017 at 10:31

Here is the video of 'chef's chef' Marco Pierre White making a ragu bolognese. His adored Italian mother was from the northern Italian region famous for it, and this is his family recipe.


If people don’t know who he is, White got three Michelin stars by the time he was 33—the first ever—then gave them all back. The original chef bad boy. His cookbooks are cooking art. He trained Gordon Ramsey and many other great British chefs.


This video is from his recent Knorr video series. He admitted in 1997 after giving up his Michelin stars that he had used Knorr stockpots in his restaurants since his early days in his kitchens to flavor his signature dishes. A lot of the commentary under the various videos sneer that he’s flogging for Knorr, who hired him as an ambassador in 2007.


But by then, he was an incredibly rich man and owns many family restaurants and pubs in Britain, in addition to being the global executive chef for a major cruise line. Money wasn’t why he started the Knorr series. He said in one of the videos he wanted to teach ordinary people how to make incredibly delicious meals for their families using common ingredients. He said he has different imperatives now, and he has children he loves to cook for.


And…the famous early 20th C French chef Auguste Escoffier--the cooking god--was the one who invented these “stockpots.” Knorr simply remade them. I just wish I could buy the versions he uses near me. I can get the bouillon cubes, but not the stockpots. I tried one of these stockpots, not knowing what I had purchased, years ago and the flavor was great. A wonderful Costa Rican chef known for her fish dishes taught me to use a chicken bouillon cube with garlic and butter when pan-frying red snapper. It was her secret. The fish was to die for.



Anyway, here is the video. Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77X-22B0QkQ



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2017 at 13:05
There looks to be some great information there - thank you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ajea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 March 2017 at 13:10
Yeah, the off-the-cuff 'chef-cooking' tips in Marco's videos are really great. The written recipe in the description is rarely what he does in the video. I find his videos addictive.
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