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Pride of northern Italy lasagna Bolognese.

Pride of Northern Italy . . . lasagna Bolognese

Each region of Italy has its own variation of lasagna. The pride of the north is lasagna Bolognese, and our version comes from Donatello, a San Francisco restaurant specializing in northern Italian dishes.

This lasagna is a subtle blend of wide sheets of homemade spinach pasta layered with a rich nutmeg-flavored cream sauce, a thick veal sauce, and two kinds of cheese.

The casserole goes together in easy steps. You can make and store the pasta overnight or freeze it up to 1 week. The cream and veal sauces can be made ahead (both will keep, chilled, up to 2 days; the veal sauce can be frozen). Then, if you like, assemble the dish a day ahead. A green salad and a dry red wine could complete the meal.

Green Lasagna Donatello

1/2 package (10 oz.) thawed frozen chopped spinach or about 1/2 cup cooked fresh spinach

2 eggs About 2 cups all-purpose flour Water

1 tablespoon salad oil Ice cubes Cream sauce (recipe follows) Veal sauce (recipe follows)

1 cup (4 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 pound thinly sliced mozzarella cheese

Squeeze spinach dry and measure 1/4 cup, then mince spinach.

To mix pasta dough by hand, blend minced spinach with eggs. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and mix with a fork to blend. Spread remaining flour on a board. Pat dough into a ball and knead gently and quickly until elastic and smooth, about 5 minutes.

To mix pasta dough by machine, use food processor with metal blade. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, spinach, and eggs. Process until dough forms a smooth, elastie ball, 1 to 2 minutes; if dough feels sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time and process to blend.

Cover dough and let rest 10 minutes.

To roll pasta by hand, divide dough into 8 portions; keep covered. On a floured board, roll one portion at a time into long, wide sheets 1/16 inch thick or less. Turn dough over occasionally as you work, adding flour to prevent sticking.

To roll pasta with a machine, divide dough into 8 portions; keep covered. Feed a portion through smooth rollers on widest setting. Sprinkle dough with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Fold strip in thirds; feed through again. Continue rolling and folding 3 more times. Set roller one notch closer; without folding, feed pasta through machine. Repeat rolling without folding, setting roller up a notch each time, until dough is 1/16 inch thick.

If desired, cut pasta sheets so they are about 2 inches longer than a shallow 3-quart casserole or 9- by 13-inch baking dish. To make ahead, lay pasta sheets between pieces of waxed paper, fold loosely adn seal in a plastic bag; chill overnight or freeze. Let pasta thaw at room temperature, unwrapping as it thaws.

To cook pasta, bring 4 to 6 quarts water and the salad oil to boiling in a 6- to 8-quart kettle. Have ready a large bowl full of ice cubes and water. If pasta is on paper, peel off a pasta sheet and drop into boiling water. Cook 1 or 2 strips at a time until just tender to bite, 2 to 3 minutes.

Using slotted spoons, transfer pasta to ice water. Repeat until all are cooked; pasta can stand in ice water up to 30 minutes.

To assemble lasagna, drain 1 pasta sheet at a time; pat dry with a cloth. Arrange pasta sheets in one layer to cover bottom (overlapping strips slightly in the center) and about 1 inch up the sides of the buttered shallow 3-quart casserole or 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Spread with 1 cup each cream sauce and veal sauce. Sprinkle with a third of the Parmesan cheese. Top with a layer of pasta, cream and meat sauces, and half the mozzarella.

Add another layer of pasta, cream and meat sauces, and Parmesan. If necessary, use trimmings of pasta to patch layers. Repeat, using remaining ingredients, ending with cream sauce and Parmesan.

Using a spatula or knife, tuck edges of noodles down along sides of pan. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 1 day.

Bake, uncovered, in a 400| oven until lightly browned and hot through, about 50 minutes (1 hour and 5 minutes if cold). Let stand 25 to 30 minutes before cutting; lift out portions with a wide spatula. Makes 10 servings.

Cream sauce. In a 2- to 2 1/2-quart pan over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine. Add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and cook, stirring, until mixture turns light golden color. Remove from heat and mix in 2 cups each regular-strength chicken broth and half-and-half (light cream). Return to high heat and bring to a boil, stirring. Season to taste with ground nutmeg. Cool; use, or cover and chill up to 2 days.

Veal sauce. In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons each olive oil or salad oil and butter or margarine until butter melts. Add 1/2 cup each finely chopped onion, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring, until onion is limp. Crumble in 1 pound ground veal and cook, stirring, until meat loses pink color. Add 1 cup dry white wine and boil, sirring, over medium-high heat until wine evaporates. Reduce heat and add 1 can (15 oz.) pear-shaped tomatoes and their liquid, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and 1/2 cup whipping cream. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, until sauce is reduced to 4 cups, about 15 minutes. Cool; use, or cover and chill up to 2 days or freeze.

Photo: Golden, cheese-crusted lasagna serves 10 generously. Let stand before serving

Photo: Cook pasta sheets in boiling water; cool in ice water

Photo: Layer green pasta with cream sauce, veal sauce, two cheeses, as Cynthia De Luca at Donatello restaurant demonstrates
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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Mar 1, 1984
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