Thursday, February 17, 2011

New meal: Modified Lasagna Bolognese

Whoops! I know it probably seems like I've fallen off the face of the planet, or at least like I haven't been reading anything or cooking anything new. Both of those statements are false: I've been cooking and reading plenty, but I've suddenly become rather busy with school/professional/research commitments as well. Let's just say a lot of my reading lately has pertained to planning children's programs. Happily, camp stories are about to make an appearance...

I did make a tasty modified lasagna bolognese this past week for the roomie and me. I used a ragu recipe from Cooks Illustrated as the basis for the lasagna, but instead of ground beef and pork, I used ground pork and veal (what I had in my freezer from particularly good sales at the butcher counter). Instead of a heavy bechamel to go with the meaty, tomato-y sauce, I used low-fat ricotta cheese and shredded mozzarella. Really, it was divine.

The main principles for this ragu:
  • soften the aromatics (small chopped onions, carrots, and celery) first in a bit of olive oil
  • add the meat (about 1 1/2 lbs) and break it apart so it doesn't clump
  • before the meat really starts browning, dump in 1 1/2 c milk--at least 2%; let it simmer and reduce for at least 20 minutes
  • dump in 1 1/2 c dry white wine; let it simmer and reduce for at least 20 minutes
  • dump in 1 tbsp of tomato paste, a 28-oz can of petite diced tomatoes, some salt, and pepper; let it simmer and reduce for at least 20 minutes until you've got a sauce consistency that you like
From there, it's really just layering in lasagna, topping hot pasta, or frankly, eating the ragu with a spoon. It's that good.

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