Holiday Project: Italy – Lasagne & The Little Stove

Project:  Teach the kids how to make Lasagna just like Mama! 

Pinwheels made by Keeks and Paigey for table decorations.

 nb. love the way Paige spelt “pinwheel”

Our Italy day turned out a little different from planned.  Breakfast and chores were done early. Meat laid defrosted on the counter.  I aimed to have the Bolognese sauce for the lasagna bubbling away all day.  Then a call from a friend enticing us to go on an op-shopping adventure and have lunch in Fremantle, saw the cooking plans aborted.  (btw – check out this site if you ever need a stimulus to find a “new” op-shop anywhere in Australia.)

We got home after lunch at The Little Stove in Bicton with a pair of shoes, a scarf, arm warmers (don’t ask, apparently they are the “in thing” for teenagers..) three books, a big jar of marbles to add to the marble collection, a mini game of memory, three balls of cotton and a wool jacket for Paige.  Phew! Big day out! It took one more cup of tea to regain enough oomph to face cooking with the kids.

I use Stephanie Alexander’s recipe for Bolognese sauce and a Thermomix recipe for the Bechamel sauce (If you don’t have a Thermo, use this recipe)

The extra ingredients you need (to make one large, family sized with leftovers for lunch lasagna) are:

 two packets fresh lasagna sheets (I usually keep some of these in the freezer for when I need them – you can use them for cannelloni as well),

a big handful of fresh spinach (or use the frozen stuff),

parmesan cheese,

mozzarella cheese (you can use the grated type, I prefer the big ball as it keeps longer and stays fresher)

and extra pepper, nutmeg and handful of basil leaves.  

Stephanie Alexander’s (The Cook’s Companion) Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients
  • onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 800 gr  minced beef (or veal/pork combination)
  • 4 teaspoons plain flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 cups chicken stock or 4 cups tomato juice
  • 8 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 2 400 gr cans peeled tomatoes with juice, pureed
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • bay leaves
Method
  1. Saute onion, celery and garlic in oil in a large saucepan until softened.
  2. Add minced meat and fry until meat breaks up into small lumps.
  3. Sprinkle in flour, then stir well.
  4. Add wine, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  5. Mix well, then increase heat and boil to evaporate liquid.
  6. Add stock, tomato, tomato paste and herbs.
  7. Reduce heat again and simmer for 1 hour, stirring from time to time.
  8. Taste for seasoning.

Bechamel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 litre milk
  • 100 gr plain flour
  • 50 gr grated parmesan cheese
  • 60 gr butter or margarine
  • salt (to taste)
  • nutmeg (to taste)

Method

  1. Place butter in the bowl and melt for 1 minute, 90 degrees, speed 1.
  2. Add the flour, cheese and milk into the bowl and cook for 12 minutes at 90 degrees on speed 4.
  3. Stir in salt and nutmeg to taste after cooking (20-30 seconds, speed 1).
Assembly
Then it is just a matter of layering.  A cup full of Bolognese sauce on the bottom, spread it around then add a layer of pasta.  A layer of Bechamel sauce, then pasta.  A layer of Bolognese sauce,  pasta,  spinach (got to hide those veges in there some where..) then Bechamel sauce.  One more layer of Bolognese sauce, then pasta.  Finish off with a thick layer of Bechamel sauce.  I usually sprinkle the top with lots of grated parmesan (use fresh…..please), slices of mozzarella, grated nutmeg, ground pepper and a few basil leaves.Put in the oven on about 200 deg C until the top is golden brown.
Gustare!

 

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3 thoughts on “Holiday Project: Italy – Lasagne & The Little Stove

  1. Pingback: Holiday Project: Italian Apple Cake | little bit of thyme

    • It IS delish and very simple once you have all the components ready. I haven’t tried, but I know you can do the Bolognese sauce in the Thermo too. Won’t brown the meat, and as I usually make truckloads, you’d have to do it in batches. Plus I have my little sous chefs to help stir the pot :) I love the Thermo with sauces as I NEVER have lumps anymore. Try the chocolate custard if your kids are into that! The holiday challenge – I made it up as I needed something to keep busy with. We are usually “up north” during the July school holidays, so I thought this may give the kids some structure. Oh, trying your chocolate ball recipe on the weekend :)

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