REAL ITALIAN LASAGNA (WITH BECHAMEL)

Given to me by a co-worker in Aug 2006

BECHAMEL IS THE “CREAM” ON TOP OF THE LASAGNA The recipe is below:

 

MEAT SAUCE 
Dice really thin:

    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • a large onion  

Use about 3 big Bay leaves*  if you are making Lasagna, (*use oregano for pizza or use *basil for tomato sauce) Pour olive oil in big pot. Saute garlic and onion til carmelized. Add meat and bay leaves. Brown meat (1 lb ground beef and 1/4 lb pork. Mix really well. Cook really slow several hours. Drain really well.  
If you can, try to find extremely red, fresh tomatoes. If they are green its going to be acidic and you will need to add sugar to compensate. Otherwise, put  2-3 big cans of  peeled tomatoes in blender and blend well…add to meat. Add large cubes of beef bouillon, to taste. (If you use bouillon you might not need to use any salt.)

Bring meat to boiling point. Stir so it doesn’t stick.
Have to have a good pot. You can use cast iron and pot on top to get even heat. Lower fire to low. Cover. Stir it from time to time and cook 2-3 hours. Meat will drop below. Bubbles will be clear so you will know it is done.
Start layering with meat or (cooked) pasta noodles then put parmesan and mozzarella on top of sauce. We Italians always say “Be really generous with the cheese”.
End with Bechamel (see recipe below) goes on top. Put more parmesan and mozzarella on top of it.
Put in 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes. Watch it close so it doesn’t burn. Let set 15-20 minutes. (Important because if you cut it too soon it won’t be set.)
——————————————————————————–
BECHAMEL (beh shah mel)  
Melt stick of (real) butter on very low heat (so it doesn’t get lumpy). Add 1-2 heaping Tbsp of flour to butter. Add a little bit of milk at a time and stir really well so you don’t get the clumping.
Add nutmeg (preferably freshly grated) and a little cinnamon. If you are using unsalted butter add a pinch of salt.
Make sure it isn’t  too thick or too runny. It is going to dry more in the oven so you have to judge the consistency. Turn fire off but keep stirring so it doesn’t stick.
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FACTS ABOUT BECHAMEL:
 Bechamel (beh shah mel) sauce is one of the five mother or sauces mères of French cuisine and one of  the oldest of all the sauces. Béchamel is made by adding milk to a white roux (roux blanc), in which the flour and butter are cooked just long enough to eliminate the taste of raw flour without coloring the mixture. The sauces mères are the basis for many variations. 
Originally made by adding cream to a thickened stock, the sauce is now made by adding hot milk to a roux of butter and flour. This basic sauce may be used on its own to accompany egg, fish and gratin dishes, the most recognizable being macaroni and cheese. It is also the basis of many other sauces.

There are two methods for making bechamel;

  • Traditional method with sauteed vegetables over which flour is sprinkled to make a roux to which is some scalded milk is added.  
  • Quicker method is to make a roux with the butter and flour and then stir in the milk. . .et voilà , les recettes.
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