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Rich, creamy, delicious meat and cheese sauce nestled between delicate sheets of homemade spinach pasta, the lasagne recipe that started my fresh pasta making craze. This is definitely a Sunday dinner meal, best served with a bottle of good red wine, and good company. The best way to relax is to work hard, and enjoy the fruits of your hard work with your loved ones.

The lasagne is composed of a meat based Bolognese ragu, a beciamella sauce, and fresh spinach pasta sheets. I outlined in the previous post the steps I took to make the pasta sheets, and here I will post the steps I took to complete the Lasagne Bolognese.

The ragu will take some time to cook, so I started on this first. Bolognese sauce usually is composed of ground veal and pork slow cooked with pancetta and finely chopped vegetables, usually composed of carrots, onion, and celery. The finely chopped vegetables are first sautéed with chopped garlic in a large pan with melted butter over moderate heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Don’t hurry this step because the vegetables will take time to cook to develop flavor.

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Meanwhile, process the pancetta, or just finely chop it, which is what I did.

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Once the vegetables have started to brown, turn the heat up from moderate to high, and add the chopped pancetta, veal, and pork to the pan.

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Stir and cook until the meat starts to brown, breaking up the larger pieces.

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Add the milk, tomato paste, and white wine, bring to a boil, and simmer for about 1 and half hour, or until the liquid has mostly dissipated from the pan, but the sauce is still moist. Set the pan aside until you are ready to assemble the lasagne.

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To prepare the beciamella sauce, melt butter in a large pan over moderate heat and add the flour, whisking to cook the entire time.

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Cooking flour in butter or oil is the basis for making a roux, a thickener for sauces that is used in many European influenced cuisines. The flour needs to cook slowly until it starts to turn a pale golden brown.

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While the roux is cooking, heat up the milk in a pot until barely boiling, add the milk by the cupful to the pan, whisking to combine the milk and roux until very smooth.

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Bring the roux mixture to a boil, and whisk to cook for 30 seconds.

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Remove the beciamella from heat and stir in the salt and nutmeg.

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Place a butter piece of parchment paper, buttered side down, onto the surface of the beciamella, and cool to room temperature. The parchment paper will help the surface of the beciamella from congealing while it cools.

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Once the ragu, beciamella, and the pasta sheets are cooked, the lasagne is ready for assembly. Spread a layer of ragu on the bottom of a baking dish with 2 inch high sides. Top with some grated Parmesan cheese, and top with sheets of cooked pasta.

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Spread a layer of beciamella onto the pasta sheets.

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Repeat with another layer of ragu, cheese, and pasta sheets.

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The lasagne is supposed to be 6 layers, but I stopped at three layers since I was only cooking for 2 people. The final layer of lasagne sheets is topped with parmesan cheese.

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Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes until the top of the lasagne is browned in spots, and the sauce is bubbling.

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Let the lasagne stand for 10 or 15 minutes before cutting. This was the best lasagne I’ve ever made, and unlike restaurant style lasagna, this one is incredibly hearty and light at the same time.

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Mario Batali’s Lasagne Bolognese

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