Okay, so now we are ready for the "real" lasanga.
This is the authentic, Italian version.
And it'll take about 2 hours.
The only thing that's not authentic is the store-bought noodles. If you wanna go all out, then by all means, make your own. But....meh. Even with good 'ol Barilla noodles, it takes just like what I had in Italy.
Mmmm....when this little guy is big enough, we are going back to Italy!
But, for now, this will have to do :)
Makes 2 casseroles.
Taken, literally word for word, from Cook's Illustrated.....well, almost. I use red wine instead of white.
For the meat sauce:
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes with juice
48 ounces meatloaf mix (a mixture of ground beef, pork, and veal)
3 cups whole milk
3 cups dry red wine
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the bechamel:
1 stick butter
1/2 cup flour
8 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
Noodles and cheese:30 sheets (19 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles, Barilla is the best
16 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (4 cups) ....and please use real Parmigiana Reggiano....I usually do but in that post-pregnancy mind of mine, I forgot to pick up some more at the market had to use the stuff in the green can :/
For the ragu: Process carrot, celery, and onion in food processor until finely chopped, about two 1-second pulses, scraping down bowl as necessary; transfer mixture to small bowl.
Wipe out food processor work bowl; process tomatoes and juice until finely chopped, six to eight 1-second pulses.
Heat butter in heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat until foaming; add carrot, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.
Add ground meats and cook, breaking meat into 1-inch pieces with wooden spoon, about 1 minute.
Add milk and stir, breaking meat into 1/2-inch bits, bring to simmer and cook, stirring to break meat into small pieces, until almost all liquid has evaporated, 20 to 30 minutes. Using potato masher or wooden spoon, break up any remaining clumps of meat (no large pieces should remain).
Add wine and bring to simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 20 to 30 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste until combined, about 1 minutes; add chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. (You should have about 12 cups meat sauce.) Transfer meat sauce to bowl and cool until just warm to the touch, about 30 minutes.
For the bechamel: While the meat sauces simmers, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming, add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until thoroughly combined, about 1 1/2 minutes; mixture should not brown.
Gradually whisk in milk, increase heat to medium-high and bring to full boil, whisking frequently.
Add salt, (and pepper, if desired) reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon, making sure to scrape bottom and corners of saucepan. (You should have almost 7 cups. Transfer bechamel to bowl and cool until just warm to touch, about 30 minutes.
To assemble: Place noodles in two 9x13" baking dishes and cover with very hot tap water; soak 5 minutes, agitating noodles occasionally to prevent sticking.
Remove noodles from water, place in single layer on kitchen towel, and pat dry.
Wipe out baking dish and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Stir bechamel to recombine; mix 1 1/2 cups warm bechamel into warm meat sauce until thoroughly combined.
Working with one casserole at a time, distribute 1 cup bechamel-enriched meat sauce in baking dish.
Place three noodles in single layer on top of sauce, arranging them close together, but not touching, at center of pan.
Spread 1 1/4 cups meat sauce evenly over noodles, spreading sauce to edge of noodles but not to edge of dish.
Drizzle 1/3 cup béchamel evenly over meat sauce.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup Parmesan even over bechamel.
Repeat layering of noodles, meat sauce, bechamel, and Parmesan cheese 3 more times. Place final 3 noodles on top and cover completely with remaining bechamel, spreading bechamel with rubber spatula and allowing to spill over noodles.
Sprinkle evenly with remaining Parmesan. Do the same with the other casserole.
Spray a large sheet of foil with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Label and freeze.
When ready to eat, defrost completely and bake at 425* until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove foil, increase heat to 450*, and continue to bake until surface is spotty brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; cut into pieces and serve.
Look at those layers!
And look at that ooey-gooey-ness!