Paper-thin lasagna noodles layered with besciamella, ragu Bolognese and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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Good luck with the recipe Vincent. As for the things you are adding this part is up to you.
I will say this though, one of the things I love about Mario's recipe is the simplicity of it. Also, when following a particular recipe there are times when I like to follow the recipe exactly (well almost) just to see how it is as it was intended. Then I tweak after that...but then again sometimes I do exactly what you are doing. Again this is entirely up to you...and your taste buds.
The paper-thin noodles are a big part of what makes this dish so amazing, along with the delicious besciamella.
Of course for you first "Rouxbe Recipe" you picked a biggy! Talk about taking the bull by the horns :-)
Good Luck, and let us know if you need anything. Also let us know how it turns out.
Everything was well worth the work. We made some modifications to the recipe and we feel it was worth it. Being Sicilian, we couldn't really imagine a lasagne without ricotta, so that was probably the biggest modification that we made to the recipe, but we made our own ricotta from scratch. The other addition was some finely diced portabella mushrooms to the ragu.
The best advice for this recipe is the thin layers of the pasta dough. If it is too thick, it will change the consistency of the dish altogether. I think the next time we make it, we are going to add some whole garlic cloves to the besciamella for flavoring.
Would love your recipe for fresh ricotta...how much did you use and how did you incorporate it into the lasagne?
If you want to add your ricotta recipe to the test kitchen here is the link: http://rouxbe.com/recipes/text
Glad you liked it...it is a fair amount of work but it sure is yummy!
Next weekend I am traveling to see my sister and other family. I'd love to take this lasagna so we can enjoy a "family meal" together. Can this be made ahead? I'm thinking 2 possibilities - first assemble and then freeze to bake at her house, or second, make the entire dish including the cooking, then freeze to be reheated at her house.
Yes this can be prepared ahead. I have never done it with this particular lasagna (which is very delicate) but I am sure that it would be fine. I do suggest preparing it and then freezing it. Bake it the day you want to eat it.
Here is another thread that talks a bit about this as well.
One thing though...when you say you are taking it somewhere else...how long will it be out of the freezer? I say this as frozen lasagna is generally best cooked from frozen.
I imagine. We have a baking dish that lives in its own little insulated carrying case that seems to be fairly effective. I suppose another option would be to assemble the dish the night before, refrigerate overnight, transport in a cooler - and then bake when we get there? ...or assemble the morning of travel - but I would rather avoid that scenario!
You could take everything separately and assemble there, but that may be more work than you want...having to package up the noodles etc. I say assemble it the night before and then just travel with it and bake it there.
Of course you could always just make something simpler :-) like spaghetti and meatballs or something...just a thought!
Owing to the freeze in Texas over the weekend, we did not travel north as planned - instead made the dish at home to enjoy with friends. First off - Dawn you make this look easy! We had purchased a kitchenaid pasta rolling attachment that has 8 settings. The funny thing was, that the pasta sheets became malformed when putting through the roller at any thickness thinner than 5. By "malformed" I mean that the sheets actually appeared to shrink as they exited the roller (wider going in than coming out) and the edges had a wave-like undulating appearance. What do you suppose would cause that? Some other observations - the ragu was phenomenal however I think that I must have let the Besciamella thicken more than I should. The flavor of the end result was great, however it was a little dry - (any ideas?) probably due to operator error with the Besciamella. I'd certainly appreciate any comments with regards to the rolling out of the dough - and any further input regarding the use of a food processor in the initial step would be helpful also!
Two possibilities. 1) The dough needed some rest before rolling - this minimizes shrinking. 2) The dough dried out a little, which explains the undulations. I recommend resting the dough wrapped with a warm cloth at room temperature for about 1 hour before rolling. Also, check to see that the machine's rollers are totally parallel. But keep at it. It takes a few tries to roll like a pro.
I've made this recipe three times now and it's only getting better. I got rave review this weekend. Making the pasta takes a bit of practice but it gets easier (and faster) with experience.
I do have a question about the ragu though. Typically I believe you would cook the meat first and then add the mirepoix. Is there any reason why it's done in the reverse order in this recipe?
Also I'm thinking of trying a variant where I'd make raviolis using the ragu as filling and the bechamel as the sauce. What do you think?
Glad you like this...it is one of my favorite lasagne's as well.
As for the why do we add the mirepoix at the beginning, this is because the mirepoix is the flavor base. It is used to add layers of flavor to the meat as it slowly cooks. If you were to add the mirepoix separately the flavors wouldn't have the time to become such good friends!
I think that your variant of making ravioli's with the ragu sounds delicious...as does the bechamel suace. You go also make a cream sauce to go with the raviolis, or even just a nice butter sauce.
Good luck, keep up the good work!
Thanks for your encouraging comments regarding the ravioli idea.
I appreciate your point about the mirepoix but my question was really about the fact that in general when cooking meat this way you would typically (I believe) first brown the meat, remove it, sweat the veggies and add the meat back. In the lasagna recipe the veggies are sweated and then the uncooked meat is added. Is this just a convenient simplification or is there a particular reason to do it this way?
I thought the idea of using the ragu for ravioli was brilliant. I happened to have some leftover ragu and leftover wonton wrappers in the freezer and also some fresh leftover Rouxbe tomato sauce from making the chicken parmigiana. So I made some triangular shaped wontons and added some cream to the tomato sauce , reduced it a bit and made them into appetizers adding some fresh basil and parmesan cheese on top. I thought the wonton wrappers were a bit fragile for the ragu but both my guests said that is what they liked about the appetizer. Thanks for the idea Francois:)