September ’10 – Week 2 – Saturday Dinner/Entree
Is there anyone who doesn’t love some permutation of lasagna? From meat-stuffed, to full on veggie, and somewhere in between. Heck, even a napoleon is lasagna in dessert form! I always make my lasagna with spinach in it, as this recipe calls for, but almost any veggie is welcome on board. This recipe incorporates the more traditional bechamel sauce, adding a creamy counterpart to the rich tang of the tomato sauce.
For the Bechamel:
5 T Butter
1/2 C AP Flour
4 C Whole Milk, warmed to room temperature
1 1/2 C Tomato Sauce
Pinch of Nutmeg
For the Lasagna:
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 lb Ground Beef
1 1/2 lb Ricotta Cheese
1 lb Lasagna Sheets, cooked per package directions
2 packages frozen Spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
3 C shredded Mozzarella
1/4 C shredded Parmesan
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a saucepan, melt 5T butter over medium heat. Once melted, add flour, whisking continuously until smooth. Gradually add milk, whisking until smoothly incorporated and there are no lumps from the flour. Continue whisking over heat until sauce is thick and creamy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add tomato sauce and nutmeg, incorporating completely. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat before adding beef. Brown the beef well, breaking up any lumps. Drain any fat and set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together ricotta, eggs, and spinach. Salt and pepper to taste.
In a 9×13″ baking dish, start by cover the bottom with a thin layer of the sauce. Then add a layer of pasta. Next, a layer of the ricotta mixture, using it all up. Adding another layer of pasta, do a layer of all the beef next, covering the beef over with mozzarella cheese, and covering the cheese with the bechamel. Add the final layer of pasta, covering that with bechamel, then mozzarella, then the Parmesan.
Bake in a 375° oven, covered with aluminum foil, for a half an hour, then uncover and allow to cook for an additional 15 minutes.