Just making use of the scorching weather here up in Scotland. I decided to make a lasagna using the recipe of my mates Italian Nonna. Took 4 hours just to make the meat sauce - even the pasta was made by hand.
It's the first time i've cooked anything but a pizza in the oven - it was outstanding if i don't say so myself. There is something cool about cooking something made from scratch in an oven made from scratch...WITH FIRE!!!
It was the first time i had tried it so i got a really decent fire going then treated the floor like i would have if i was cooking a pizza, spread the coals and then got a flame licking over the ceiling. I used a thin baking tray under the ceramic dish just for ease of getting it in and out and prayed that the dish didn't explode because that was dinner...
The recipe for the ragu is simple.
1kg of minced beef steak (or pork if you fancy) 2 large onions chopped 1 celery stick chopped 2 carrots chopped 2/4 garlic cloved finely chopped Oil 1 large jar of pasatta 1 tin of chopped tomatos Handful of fresh Basil chopped Balsamic vinegar Tablespoon of brown sugar
Heat a hefty glug of oil in a thick bottomed pan and put in the mince along with the carrot, celery and half the garlic chop up the large bits of mince with a wooden spoon and keep stirring until it's cooked through. Pour in the onions and let it simmer for a couple of mins.
Pour in the pasatta, tin of chopped tomatoes, half the chopped basil, spoon of sugar and a glug of balsamic.
Cover and leave to simmer for an hour stirring occasionally. Have a little taste and add salt and pepper until perfect - stop tasting there or you'll have none left!!
Cover and simmer for a further 2/3 hours then take off the heat and rest overnight.
White Sauce A simple roux is all that is needed. Melt butter, and mix with flour and milk until you get a smooth mix.
Pasta sheets Supermarket fresh sheets are good - i had time and made my own though.
Assemble on the day of cooking (i'm not a huge cheese fan so add in what you like at this stage).
Ragu-pasta-white sauce-ragu-pasta.... top with blobs of mozzarella and basil.
Mine took about 40 mins in the oven (without a door) and i actively managed the flame and swept the coals over the floor a couple of times. I'm a novice tho so i thought that was the best way to do it.
Thanks for posting your recipe Stevo, much appreciated. I think that the secret for a good ragu sauce is in the lengthy cooking time, although appreciate that it's not always possible. Am thinking of doing the sauce in the oven at some point, should do away nicely on a long slow cook in there. I am a vegetarian, but I do cook meat for family and friends, so always on the lookout for new things to experiment on my meat eating lot. I call them all my guinea pigs, but they obviously don't seem to mind, as there is never a shortage of folk around when food is cooking.
I used a large ceramic dish for roast veggies just about a month ago, for the first time, as I had run out of metal dishes. It worked out really well, so am happy about that, as have quite a few, so will save me buying more metal ones. Never thought about putting a tray under it....now that would have been easier to move about the oven floor. Doh!
Well done on making your own pasta sheets. Afraid that I will just be lazy and buy mine....too much work, and I am not buying any more gadgets for the kitchen, have no more room!