Note to self: I bought lasagna noodles over a month ago and had planned on making this for a while now. I’m not sure why I kept putting it off…I think it was because part of me knew that if I make it we’ll have leftovers for days and I’m not so great with eating the same thing over and over again.
I adapted this recipe from NerdsWithKnives.com and I think overall it would’ve been really good but the fontina béchamel was borderline too salty and kind of ruined it. Like it was still edible but you couldn’t really enjoy it because all you can think about is the salt. I adjusted the recipe so it accounts for the salt. I would also leave out the parmesan cheese…it just adds to the extra saltiness factor and isn’t needed. Overall I think it could just do without the fontina béchamel and just use the traditional ricotta cheese in between the layers of the bolognese and noodles. In this case…simpler is better and traditional is the way to go. 🙂
For the bolognese:
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 cup carrot, roughly chopped
- 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1lb ground beef chuck
- 2 pieces of halal beef strips, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 3 chicken bouillon cubes
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 cups water
- 3 small bay leaves
For the fontina béchamel:
- ½ stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup Fontina, grated (about 6oz)
- ½ tsp minced garlic
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of black pepper
- Combine the vegetables in a food processor and pulse until they’re finely chopped.
- Heat a large pot on the stovetop, add 2 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp minced garlic.
- Add the vegetables and ½ tsp pepper and cook until soft and starting to brown a bit. (10-15 minutes)
- Add 1 lb ground beef (and beef strips if using) and cook until brown. (15 mins)
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another few minutes.
- In a small pot add 3 chicken bouillon cubes and 3 cups of water.
- Heat until the bouillon cubes are dissolved.
- into the large pot with bolognese sauce add 1 can of crushed tomatoes, 1 cup milk, 3 cups of chicken stock, and 3 bay leaves.
- Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 2 – 3 hours, stirring occasionally. You may need to add more chicken stock (or water) if the sauce starts to get too dry.
- When it’s done, take out the bay leaves and leave to cool for 20 minutes before assembling.
To make the béchamel sauce:
- On medium heat, melt 4 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan.
- Add ¼ flour, stir and cook for a minute. Add ¼ cup of the milk in a slow drizzle, whisking constantly until smooth. Add another ¼ cup and whisk until smooth. Then add the rest and whisk again.
- Add ½ tsp minced garlic, pinch of nutmeg and black pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a lower simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-10 minutes.
- Turn off heat and stir in fontina, a handful at a time, until melted (if it doesn’t fully melt, turn on low heat and stir until just melted and smooth). Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a 9×13-inch rectangular baking dish, spread ¼ cup of the béchamel (to keep noodles from sticking to the bottom).
- Add the first pasta layer, cutting pieces as needed to fill the dish. Ladle 1 generous cup bolognese sauce over the noodles, spreading it evenly.
- Drizzle ½ cup béchamel over the bolognese (don’t worry about smoothing it out).
- Repeat this process (pasta, bolognese, béchamel, parmesan) until the dish is filled (you might get 2 or 4 layers) and end with a layer of pasta. Spread over a ¼ cup of the béchamel (or whatever you have left)
- Bake for 40 minutes until bubbly and browned on top.
- Let it sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting.
Original recipe adapted from: http://www.nerdswithknives.com/lasagna-bolognese/