Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lasagna al Forno

I'm in love with anything Disney, including their food.  This recipe comes from Tutto Italia Ristorante, England Pavilion, EPCOT.  The recipe is for two lasagnas so I halfed it.  I also only use fresh pasta.  Which I boil for a 2 minutes in salted, boiling water. I boil the fresh lasagna because it removes the starch and the gummy texture.  Please do not skip that step.  I hate the no boil lasagna.  It is horrible!    Remove pasta sheets and immerse in cold water.  Leave them in cold water until ready to use.  I also added 2 links of sweet Italian sausage casings removed.  I add this to the ground meat when I am sauteing. I also use  half, grated muenster cheese and grated provolone instead of mozzarella.  I just like the way it melts.  

Lasagna al Forno
As is served at Tutto Italia Ristorante, England Pavilion, EPCOT
Pomodoro Sauce 
4 (28 oz.) cans plum tomatoes in tomato sauce
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, fine chopped
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground pepper
6 fresh basil leaves, rough chopped
Bechamel Sauce
2 quarts milk
1 stick butter 
4 ounces all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Bolognese Sauce
1 yellow onion, fine diced
3 ribs celery, fine diced
1 carrot, fine diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 pound ground beef 
2 cups pomodoro sauce
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
12 fresh pasta sheets
1 cup pomodoro sauce
bolognese sauce for layering 
bechamel sauce for layering
4 cups grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

For the pomodoro sauce:
Crush tomatoes in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Cook onions in olive oil until clear over medium heat in a 12 quart saucepan.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly golden.  Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a gentle boil, then lower heat to simmer.  Simmer an hour or more, stirring occasionally.  Add basil leaves and over lowest heat for additional 10 minutes.  Reserve for lasagna assembly.

For the bechamel sauce:
In a sauce pot, over medium heat, melt the butter being careful to not allow it to brown.  Remove from heat, add flour, whisking until completely incorporated and resembles a thick paste.  Return to heat, add the milk, and whisk briskly until paste has incorporated in the milk.  Bring to a boil, whisking briskly, then lower heat to a low simmer.  Season with salt and pepper and allow mixture to thicken.  Lower heat to low and allow to rest, stirring regularly, for 30 minutes.  Reserve for lasagna assembly.

For the bolognese sauce: 
In a large sauce pot, over medium heat, cook carrots, onions, celery, and garlic until onions are clear and soft and the mixture is fragrant.  Add the ground beef and cook until done, breaking meat up as much as possible.  Add herbs, pomodoro sauce, wine, cream, salt, and pepper.  Adjust seasonings if needed.  Increase heat to high and boil.  Allow to boil for 5 minutes, reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for at least an hour.  Reserve for lasagna assembly.

To assemble lasagna:
In a deep 13x9 pan, spray or wipe with the olive oil.  Add pomodoro sauce and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan.  Lay first layer of pasta, pressing firmly into the sauce.  Layer 2 cups of bolognese sauce and spread evenly over the pasta.  Sprinkle generously with the Parmesan cheese.  Add another pasta layer over the bolognese layer, firmly pushing down but being careful to not squeeze the layers to the sides of the pan.  Add 1.5 cups bechamel sauce over the pasta sheet and spread evenly.  Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese and top with another pasta layer.

Repeat a total of six times (3 layers of meat and 3 layers of sauce), finishing with a noodle layer.  On the top layer, over the final layer of noodles, cover with 2 cups pomodoro sauce.  Bake, covered, at 350 for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven, top with the mozzarella.  Return to the oven and cook additional 10 minutes uncovered.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

Cut and serve, topping with additional pomodoro sauce or pan drippings and Parmesan cheese. 

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