Monday, May 18, 2009

Lasagna Greek Style

No, I'm not Greek but I love their version of lasagna. While this recipe is a fair amount of work and be prepared to wash lots of dishes afterwards, it's a labour of love and your loved ones will thank you for it. I usually make the meat sauce the day before assembling this dish, that way it's not as long a process. This recipe makes a lot, I usually get one 9x13 pan and one slightly smaller oval casserole dish out of 1 batch, so it would be great to serve a crowd, or you could freeze cooked serving sized portions for those nights you just don't feel like cooking.

Serves 10-12

Meat Sauce Ingredients:
Enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of a large pot
2 large onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 16 ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine
1 cinnamon stick, broken in two

Meat sauce:

Pasta Ingredients:
1 lbs penne
8 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups whole milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup grated romano or parmesean cheese

Pasta:Bechamel Sauce Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
1/2 lbs grated romano or parmesean cheese, divided

Bechamel Sauce:Directions:

-For the meat sauce, put some olive oil in a large pot, saute onion until lightly browned, add garlic, add meat and cook until brown, crumbling with a fork, add remaining meat sauce ingredients to skillet, mix well, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until thick, let mixture cook, remove and discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
-Prepare pasta by boiling until al dente in plenty of boiling, salted water, drain and place pasta in a large bowl, add butter, milk, eggs and 1/2 cup cheese, gently stir to coat, set aside.
-To prepare bechamel sauce, melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan, stir in flour until smooth, cook whisking for 2 minutes, gradually add milk, stirring until thickened, lower heat, add salt pepper and nutmeg, remove from heat.
-In a medium sized bowl, beat 3 eggs, slowly add hot cream sauce to eggs, stir thoroughly so eggs don't curdle.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a large baking pan.
-Empty 1/2 of the penne mixture over bottom of pan, cover evenly with all of the meat sauce, sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over meat sauce, add remaining penne mixture, spreading evenly, sprinkle another 1/3 of the cheese over top, pour bechamel sauce evenly over entire casserole, top with remaining cheese.
-Bake until bechamel sauce sets and has golden brown patches across top, 45 minutes-1 hour.
-Cool at least 20 minutes before cutting into pieces for serving.

Everything lined up and ready for assembly:

Assembled and ready to go into the oven:

Just out of the oven:

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