Traditional Lasagne Al Forno
|Green no cook dried lasagna sheets||1 Pound (About 24 Sheets, 450 Gram)|
|Mozzarella||14 Ounce, diced (400 Gram)|
|Parmigiano||4 Ounce, freshly grated or shaved (110 Gram)|
|Extra virgin olive oil||4 Tablespoon|
|Onion||1 Large, peeled and finely chopped|
|Sliced pancetta||7 Ounce (200 Gram)|
|Garlic cloves||2 Clove (10 gm), chopped|
|Minced british beef||12 Ounce (350 Gram)|
|Minced british pork||12 Ounce (350 Gram)|
|Chicken livers||6 Ounce (175 Gram)|
|Chopped italian tomatoes||400 Gram (1 Tin)|
|Chopped tomatoes||230 Gram (1 Tin)|
|Tomato puree||6 Tablespoon|
|Red wine||6 Fluid Ounce (175 Milliliter)|
|Basil||1⁄3 Ounce (15 Gram)|
|Freshly milled black pepper||To Taste|
|Double cream||6 Fluid Ounce (175 Milliliter)|
|Milk||2 1⁄2 Pint (1.5 Liters)|
|Butter||6 Ounce (Plus A Little Extra For Greasing, 175 Gram)|
|Plain flour||4 Ounce (110 Gram)|
|Whole nutmeg||1⁄4 Teaspoon|
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1,275 °F (140°C).
First of all, begin by making the ragu.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in your largest frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion for about 10 minutes, moving it around from time to time.
While it is softening, chop the pancetta: the best way to do this is to roll it into a sausage shape, then, using a sharp knife, slice it lengthways into four, then slice the lengths across as finely as possible.
After the 10 minutes is up, add this to the pan, along with the garlic, and continue cooking the whole lot for about 5 minutes.
Now transfer this mixture to the casserole.
Next, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, turn up the heat to its highest, then add the minced beef and brown it breaking it up and moving it around in the pan. (A wooden fork is really helpful here.)
When the beef is browned, tip it into the casserole to join the onion mixture, then heat another tablespoon of oil and do exactly the same with the minced pork.
While the pork is browning, trim the chicken livers, rinse them under cold, running water and dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper.
Pull off any skin and snip out any tubes or odd bits of fat with kitchen scissors, then chop the livers minutely small, when the pork is browned, transfer it to the casserole, too.
Finally heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and cook the pieces of chicken liver, adding these to the casserole as soon as they have browned nicely.
After that, you need to remove the pan and place the casserole over the direct heat, and give everything a really good stir.
Then add the contents of both tins of tomatoes, the tomato puree, red wine, a really good seasoning of salt and freshly milled black pepper and about a quarter of nutmeg, grated.
More stirring now, then allow this to come up to simmering point.
While that happens, strip the leaves from half the basil, tear them into small pieces and add them to the casserole.
Then, as soon as everything is simmering, place the casserole on the centre shelf of the oven and leave it to cook slowly, without a lid, for exactly 4 hours.
It's a good idea to have a look after 3 hours to make sure all is well and to have a good stir, but what you should end up with is a thick, reduced, concentrated sauce, with only a trace of liquid left in it.
When that happens, remove the casserole from the oven, taste to check the seasoning, then strip the remaining leaves off the basil, tear them into small pieces and stir them in.
Now, to make the cream sauce, place the milk, butter, flour and some seasoning in a large, thick-based saucepan.
Place this over a gentle heat and whisk continuously with a balloon whisk until the sauce comes to simmering point and thickens.
Then, with the heat as low as possible, continue to cook the sauce for about 10 minutes.
After that, sieve the sauce into a bowl, beat in the cream, taste and season if it needs it, and grate in another quarter of the whole nutmeg.
Now spread about a quarter of the ragu over the base of the roasting tin (or dish).
Cover this with one fifth of the sauce, followed by a quarter of the Mozzarella, then arrange a single layer (about six sheets) of the lasagne. (I find you need four placed side by side lengthways and the other two halved and spread along the gap that's left.)
Repeat this process three more times, finishing with a final layer of sauce, then cover the whole lot with the grated Parmesan and the lasagne is ready for the oven.
All this can be done well in advance.
Then, when you're ready to bake the lasagne, pop it on to the top shelf of the oven, pre-heated to gas mark 4,350°F (180°C) for 45-50 minutes, or until it's bubbling and turning slightly golden on top.