Beef Dalbotten’s Beef Lasagnecarly
- 1 1/4 lb. lean ground beef*
- 1/4 cup pure olive oil
- 1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped onions
- 1 heaping Tbsp oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp finely minced garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp basil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp dry white wine
- 3 1/4 cups crushed tomatoes in puree (there will be a couple ounces left in a 28-oz can. Save as you will use it in assembling the lasagna).
- 5 ounces frozen spinach (half of a 10 oz box), thawed and squeezed dry of all liquid
- 2 cups grated mozzarella
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup cream
- big pinch white pepper
- big pinch thyme
- big pinch nutmeg
- big pinch basil
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour
- 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 3 Tbsp grated romano cheese
- uncooked fresh lasagna noodles, enough for three layers in a 9“ x 13” pan
- 1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp very finely chopped parsley
- For meat, Beef suggests using 1/2 sweet italian sausage and 1/2 spicy italian sausage
To Make Meat Sauce, Cheese, Bechamel, and Topping:
To make sauce, sauté beef over medium heat until pink is gone and meat is crumbly. Remove from heat and pour meat through a colander to drain fat. Reserve meat (making sure it is well crumbled). In the same sauté pan, heat olive oil and add onions, oregano, garlic, basil, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until alcohol has evaporated - about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes. Add spinach and meat. Continue simmering for a few minutes, then remove from heat and reserve.
Mix together cheeses and set aside.
To make bechamel, heat milk, cream, white pepper, thyme, nutmeg and basil in a small saucepan until it nears a boil. Turn off heat. Melt butter in a medium-size sauté pan. When foam from butter recedes, remove from heat; add flour, and mix well. Return to medium-low heat and, stirring frequently, simmer for 2-3 minutes to cook, but not brown, the flour. Gradually stir in hot milk and cream mixture. Raise heat to medium-high and continue stirring until mixture is smooth and thick - about 5 minutes. Add parmesan and romano cheeses and whisk until smooth. This should be the texture of wallpaper paste, not of a sauce you might think of as bechamel.
To make topping, mix together bread crumbs, parmesan and parsley; reserve.
To Assemble and Bake:
Preheat oven to 400°.
Spread 2 Tbsp of the tomato juices left in the can of tomatoes on the bottom of a shallow baking dish (9“ x 13”). Lay in one layer of uncooked lasagne noodles. Spoon on 3 cups of the meat sauce. Spread one cup of bechamel across the sauce in 2 diagonals (no need to spread evenly). Top with 2 cups of cheese mixture. Lay on another layer of noodles and repeat, using the same amounts of sauce, bechamel and cheese, one time. Top with the last layer of noodles and press lightly to distribute the bechamel smoothly in the layers. Using a long metal spatula, “frost” top layer of noodles with remaining bechamel. Be sure to completely cover noodles so they don’t dry out in baking. Sprinkle evenly with bread crumb mixture. Bake for 60 minutes or until sauce bubbles around the edges and top is nicely browned. If top browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes of cooking. Let lasagne set for 20 minutes once out of oven before serving.
This can be frozen before cooking, and go straight to the oven from the freezer (add about 20 minutes to cooking time). Or, make up to a day ahead and keep refrigerated.