A true classic, from Cucchiaio d’Argento…
Classic lasagne alla bolognese – ovvero la schiscetta
Lasagne (or lasagna: same thing, different regional name) is the ultimate Italian lunchbox treat. You will need 250g egg lasagne pasta sheets (fresh or dried, your choice) and then:
For the bolognese sauce: 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped onion and 2 chopped celery stalks, all gently fried together in 2 tbsp olive oil for a minute or so. Add 450g minced meat (we used ½ minced beef and ½ top quality pork sausage meat) and cook until the meat browns, then add a glass of dry white wine and cook to evaporate the alcohol. Add 700g passata (we used the roughly chopped rustica version). Cook for 45–60min on a low heat, mixing every so often. Season to your liking – as for all tomato-based sauces, we recommend adding a small pinch of sugar to offset the acidity.
For the béchamel sauce you will need: 25g butter, 25g flour, 250ml cold milk. Start by melting the butter in a small pan, add the flour and mix well (best using a whisk). Then add the milk all at once, mix well and cook over moderate heat for 20min or so, mixing often to avoid lumps. Season and add a pinch of grated nutmeg.
To complete the preliminaries, grate 80g of parmesan cheese and set aside. Now you’re ready to assemble the dish. In the cartoon kitchen we favour a rectangular, transparent pyrex dish, but any ovenproof dish would do.
If you are using dry pasta sheets, even if the pack says you can use it straight from the packet, in the cartoon kitchen we like to dip the sheets quickly in boiling water: boil a kettle, pour into a large bowl, add 1–2 tbsp olive oil and dip the pasta sheets for a minute or two before building the dish.
Start with a layer of pasta to cover the base, then bolognese sauce to cover; add a couple of spoonfuls of béchamel and a generous sprinkle of the grated parmesan. Dot with butter here and there if you wish. Keep going with layers of pasta, sauce, béchamel, parmesan until you use up all the ingredients, but reserving enough bolognese sauce, béchamel and parmesan to cover the top nicely.
Cook in the oven at 200°/gas 6 for 30min or so.
Now, as you can see, Fidget is not one for half-measures. So whenever we make lasagne we always make extra, because the leftovers – if there are any, that is – cut into individual portions and frozen, make wonderful packed lunches: something for la schiscetta.