Extra Layered Lasagne
This is a modification of a recipe I saw at Epicurious a while ago. But, I’ve modified it to create a huge family style size that can easily feed 10-12. The recipe uses two boxes of lasagne noodles in 8 total layers. With my lasagne pan, it takes four noodles per layer (three side by side, slightly overlapping, and one across the top). I’ve also tweaked the bolognese recipe a bit. And, I make a lot of it so that there’s additional sauce to spread on each serving plate under each slice of lasagne.
Makes 10-12 Servings
2 lg Onions, roughly chopped
3 med Carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
2 Celery Stalks, roughly chopped
3 cloves Garlic, finely minced
2 tbl Olive Oil
8 oz Pancetta, finely chopped
2 lb Ground Chuck
2 lb Ground Pork
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 cu Dry White Wine
1 cu Whole Milk
1 28-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
2 cu Chicken Broth
1/2 cu Unsalted Butter, diced
1/3 cu All-Purpose Flour
8 cu Whole Milk, warmed
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
2 1-lb pkgs Lasagne Noodles
Deep 9″x 13″ Lasagne Pan or Casserole
2 tbl Unsalted butter, softened
3 cups finely grated Parmesan
Working in batches, pulse the onions, carrots and celery in a food processor until finely and uniformly chopped. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add the pancetta and continue to sauté for an additional 5 minutes, keeping temps low so as to not char the vegetables. Add chuck and pork and continue sautéing, stirring often until meat has browned. Season with salt and pepper and stir until most of the moisture has cooked away. Increase the heat and add white wine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir until most of the wine has cooked away. Add milk, crushed tomatoes and 1 cup of chicken broth. Bring to a boil again and then reduced to a simmer. Continue simmering, stirring often, for about 2 1/2 hours. Add more broth if bolognese gets dry. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate the bolognese overnight if you have time. Otherwise, set aside and make the béchamel.
To make the béchamel, heat 8 cups of whole milk in a small saucepan until just simmering. Separately, melt 1/2 cup of unsalted butter in a large pan over medium-high until it just starts to bubble. Whisk in 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour and continue to stir for about 2 minutes. While continuing to whisk, slowly add warmed milk, one cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Continue to stir until mixture reaches the thickness of pancake mix, about 15-20 minutes, keeping it just below a boil. Remove from heat at stir in 1/2 teaspoon of Nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the béchamel and allow to cool.
To prepare the noodles, fill a large stockpot with water. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Separately, fill a large bowl with water and ice and set aside. Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta noodles into the pot and boil according to package directions. Remove the cook pasta to the ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Depending on the size of your pots, you may have to do this in batches.
To assemble the lasagne, spread 2 tablespoons of softened butter on the bottom of the lasagne pan. Spread about 1/8 of the béchamel over the butter. Remove lasagne noodles from the ice bath, one at at time, and dry on a clean kitchen towel. Layer them over the béchamel. For the next layer, spread another 1/8 of the béchamel. Top that with about 1 cup of the bolognese, spread thinly. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of parmesan over the bolognese. Add another layer of pasta noodles and repeat the process 7 more times, trimming the lasagne at the corners to fit neatly in the pan. Top the lasagne with a layer of bolognese and parmesan cheese. You should have a fair amount of bolognese left over. Cover and refrigerate this leftover until ready to serve. I usually heat this up and ladle a bit on each serving plate before topping with a slice of lasagne. At this point, you can refrigerate the lasagne for 4-6 hours before baking, if you like.
To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If you’ve refrigerated your lasagne, let it rest out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking. I also add an aluminum foil collar around the lasagne pan to minimize any spillover. I also place the lasagne pan on a baking sheet before putting it into the oven. Bake for 1 hour and then let it rest for an additional 1 hour before slicing.
Slice into individual serving sizes and place on plates with a little extra bolognese.