1 small yellow onion – minced
1 rib of celery – minced
1/2 carrot – peeled & minced
2 or 3 slices of prosciutto – finely chopped
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
2 chicken livers – finely chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 cup of hot milk
1 cup of chicken or beef stock
28 oz of pureed San Marzano tomatoes
2 6 oz containers of Tomato Paste (Optional)
6 tbsp. sifted flour
LASAGNA VERDE AL FORNO
This is emphatically not your 30 minute dinner. It is one of the great treasures of Italian cuisine. And despite the length of time it takes, this version is not entirely labor-intensive. A great part of the time is the slow simmering of the rich meat sauce. It sits on the stove for 3 hours, requiring only an occasional stir and tasting to make sure its seasonings are correct. It is even better if you let it rest overnight and allow the flavors to fully develop. Then the next day, the assembly is actually quite speedy, as long as you have the right kind of pasta.
The choice of great sheets of spinach noodles gives the dish its authenticity. No crinkled-edged strips of dried white noodles here. The real thing is made with fresh pasta. It’s not hard to find here in New York; in Little Italy at Piemonte Home Made Ravioli Co., 190 Grand St., New York (212-226-0475) www.piemonteravioli.com , it’s not even expensive—about $6.40 for the two packages this recipe requires. I would certainly try to find fresh lasagna noodles; they eliminate the need the truly odious part of making lasagna with dry pasta: blanching of the pasta, then drying it before forming the dish.
Alternatively, you can use the Ready Bake pasta that Barilla makes and is pretty widely available. But please stay clear of that truly awful thick stuff Ronzoni passes off as lasagna.
I generally double the recipe for the meat sauce, so I have half of it for the lasagna, freeze the rest and have wonderful meat sauce on hand for a quick weeknight pasta supper.
The other interesting thing about this recipe is that, unlike many recipes for lasagna, this one has a béchamel or, in Italian, besciamella sauce sprinkled with Parmigiano-reggiano as opposed to great slabs of mozzarella that Italian-American recipes favor. It’s very rich but very satisfying. The only change I made to the original recipe is however, very Italian-American. I just have to have that more tomato taste and so I add 12 ounces of tomato paste. This thickens the sauce but if you want to be completely authentic, leave it out by all means.
For the Lasagna Verdi Al Forno:
2 tbsp. butter
8 6” x 10” inch sheets of Spinach Pasta
5 cups of Ragu al Bolognese
2 cups Freshly Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
3 cups Italian-style Bechamel Sauce
For the Ragu al Bolognese (Meat Sauce Bolognese)
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
For the Bechamel Sauce:
5 tbsp. butter
3 cups hot milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To assemble and bake the Lasagna:
This really is a meal all by itself. A mixed green salad with a spash of Balsamic Vinaigrette, a loaf of rustic bread are perfect accompaniments.
And there’s no better dish to serve with a bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.