Three Meat, Three Cheese Lasagna

My recipe is adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking.

This lasagna is made by first putting together a slow cooking Ragu and then layering it with the noodles, cheese and a béchamel sauce for extra creaminess. There is very little tomato in the Ragu so it’s not what you would expect to get in most Italian restaurants in Atlanta. My husband prefers that, because he’s not a big fan of tomato based sauces. If you do like that, you can always add a bit of a homemade tomato sauce when you are layering the lasagna or add more tomatoes to the Ragu itself.

Remember that beef bone broth that I made and shared in a previous blog post? I used 2 cups of that in this Ragu instead of chicken stock for an even deeper flavor. You can definitely substitute chicken stock for the bone broth.

Ingredients

For the Ragu:

  • 4 ounces of pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium celery stalk with leaves, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef or venison
  • 1/2 lb of ground lamb
  • 1/2 lb of mild italian sausage, loose or removed from casings
  • 1 ounce of prosciutto, chopped
  • 2/3 cup of dry red wine
  • 2 cups of beef bone broth (here is where you can sub in the chicken stock)
  • 1 1/2 cups of milk
  • 3 whole plum tomatoes from a can, drained (reserve the rest for another use)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

For the Béchamel:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • white pepper
  • salt

For the assembly:

  • 12 – 15 no boil lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago or fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions

For the Ragu:

In a large enameled cast iron pot add a little olive oil and then the pancetta over medium high heat. Cook until some of the fat is rendered from the pancetta.

Add the onion, celery and carrot to the pot and cook until just beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook another 1 – 2 minutes. Then all the rest of the meats. Cook until the meats are a nice, deep brown.

Deglaze the pot with the red wine and then allow to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Add 1/2 cup of the bone broth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is completely reduced out. Repeat with the next 1 cup, 1/2 cup at a time until reduced out. This entire process should take about an hour. If it is reducing too quickly, lower the heat. Remember you want a simmer, not a boil.

Add the last 1/2 cup of the broth and the crushed red pepper flakes. Partially cover the pot, keep heat at a simmer, and allow to cook for 1 hour, stirring frequently.

Add the tomatoes, crushing them as you go. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes on medium low heat until the Ragu is thick and meaty.

For the Béchamel:

Note: Make the Béchamel right before you are ready to assemble the lasagna.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and then gradually wisk in all of the flour. Allow the roux to cook for about 2 minutes, continuing to wisk periodically, to allow some of the raw flour taste to cook out. Then add the milk, about a half cup at a time, whisking continuously until all the milk is incorporated. Season with the ground nutmeg, white pepper and salt to taste. Remove from heat.

For the assembly:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In your selected large baking dish, add a thin layer of the béchamel sauce, then a layer of pasta, then another layer of the béchamel and a layer of the Ragu. Continue until you have used all your pasta. On top of the last layer of pasta, add a layer of the béchamel, then pile on all the cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 -45 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. Rest 10 minutes before serving.

I like to serve this with good crusty bread and a very simple arugula salad, dressed with lemon, oil and vinegar with some shaved parmesan cheese.

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”  

Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance

Published by Elizabeth Escalante

Freckles. Food. Travel. Dachshunds.

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