Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Lasagne.. The Recipe

For those who have asked, hear you go!
For the ragu:
1 package sweet italian sausage links, casings removed (i used turkey sausage)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/2 in cube
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 cup marsala or sherry wine (or you can use white wine, I just like marsala)
1 cup chicken stock
1 big handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped.   
3 to 4 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped

For the Bechamel
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
4 cups warmed milk

1 package lasagne noodles, cooked to package directions for al dente
Shredded mozzarella cheese (I like the bagged pre shredded part skim type for the inside layers, and fresh whole milk for the top)

1. To make the Ragu: Remove the sausage casings and crumble and brown the sausage in a large pot (I like my enameled cast iron dutch oven for this), until slightly crisp.  Remove from the pan and set aside in a bowl.  Add the squash and onions to the same pan, add salt and pepper and sautee until soft and golden brown around the edges about 7 to 9 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee for 1 minute.  Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, and let it reduce down, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock as well as the browned sausage crumbles and let simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chopped herbs and continue to simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes. Adjust the seasonings as needed.

2. To make the Bechamel: Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and then add the flour, stirring and whisking well.  Cook for about 1 minutes and then slowly whisk in the hot milk. All this to boil for a few minutes until you have a nice thick bechamel.  Add salt and pepper as needed (I also like to add a bit of garlic pepper and grated nutmeg to the bechamel). You will probably have a little bechamel left over.

To assemble:
Spread a small bit of bechamel in the bottom of a buttered lasagne pan, add bottom layer of noodles.  Spread with 1/3 of the ragu, then top with enough bechamel to cover the ragu.  Sprinkle a liberal amount of cheese on top of the bechamel.  Repeat this layer in the same order.  How many layers you have depends on the depth of your lasagne pan, I usually get three layers of noodles. When you get to the top layer of noodles, cover with the ragu, but not the bechamel.  Sprinkle liberally with cheese. 

I don’t bake my lasagnes for long.. I usually either put them under the broiler or a very hot (450) oven just long enough to make the cheese on top bubbly and brown.  Let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes after taking out of the oven before you slice it.
Super easy, super yummy!!!!
Something I have wanted to try with this but still haven’t is carmelized fennel in the ragu.

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