Lasagne al forno

Leave a Comment
Maurizio, my husband, is from Rome. He's proud of the fact, understandably - after all, they did do quite a lot for us. Aqueducts and straight roads are all very well of course, but in my opinion it was when the Romans came up with lasagne that they really cemented their place in history. (They also invented cement.) Over the years I've eaten a lot of Maurizio's lasagne; it's the best I've ever tasted and he's kindly shared his recipe, which was in turn kindly handed down from his mother, his mother's mother, and so on back to the original Romans from proper Roman times.

The original Romans' lasagne was squared strips of cooked pasta seasoned with cheese and vegetables. For many centuries Roman lasagne stayed the same, and was called “lasana” or “lasanum” meaning a cooking pot.
In 1300 an anonymous chef, bless him, created different layers of pasta filled with cheese and, a bit later, in 1863, the editor Francesco Zambrini wrote about it in his cooking book. People played around with it a little more over the years, until it came to pass in 2004 that I met Maurizio and found the absolute, perfect, exemplar of all lasagne.

Ingredients for 4-6 people
  • 700 g of Bolognaise sauce
  • 200 ml b├ęchamel sauce
  • 300 g of dried lasagna sheets
  • 100 g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
(Make sure you get the Parmesan with that writing on the rind in tiny dots - all the rest is sub-standard.) 

Preparing the Bolognaise sauce

  • Finely chop half an onion, two garlic cloves, one celery stem and one carrot. Fry them gently in olive oil and add either fresh or dried chillies, according to taste.
  • Add the mince meat, about 500 g, season it with salt and black pepper and let it cook on a high flame until it becomes brown.

  • Now you can add 400 g of tinned chopped tomatoes. (The best brand you can get in Muscat is Cirio, available at Carrefour. It's real Italian tomatoes and comes without the skin.) Add a little salt and let it cook on a very low flame, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours or until it starts reducing (the longer it cooks the better).

Preparing the b├ęchamel sauce
  • Melt 80 g of butter on a low flame.
  • Add two spoons of flour and keep stirring until it becomes very thick.
  • Add some milk, a little at a time, season it and add a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Keep stirring it, add a little more milk (by now you should have added about 150 ml of milk) and when it starts to get thick and creamy, leave it aside.

    Assembling the lasagne:
    • Cover the bottom of a casserole with the two sauces combined in equal amounts.
    • Then add a layer of lasagna sheets and cover them with the two sauces, as well as chopped mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese.
    • Repeat this step until the layers fill top of the casserole; usually 4 or 5 layers.
    • Place it in an already hot oven, about 200 degrees. Cook for about 25 minutes and that’s it! Grate a little more Parmesan on top and enjoy! Or, if you do have some leftovers, this is one of those meals that falls into the happy category of Even Tastier The Next Day.
    Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


    Post a Comment