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11 answers 1495 views
Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

Sjccorcor...sounds ambitious, maybe even too much to manage well on first time. Yes bechamel and bolognese are trad sauces. Look to Marcella Hazan for a great trad recipe. She uses beef, but you may find other recipes using other meat. My recommendation - don't learn how to make noodles now, if you're just mastering the sauces and the whole production. Use good quality dry or fresh purchased from a deli/food shop. Most cooke & drain noodles before assembly, but good results also come with using uncooked noodles and added a little more liquid to help them bake to doneness. I would avoid garlic bread with a pasta main dish, but that's a questions of taste. Plenty of good Italian red out there at all price points for you to try. Maybe 2 varieties at table, to compare. Trad Italian meals also end with fruit, cookies and a sweet wine. Make your life easier - learn tiramisu or homemade gelato another time. Big tip - don't do so much new that you're tired, nervous, worried. Make a good decent meal with enough energy left to enjoy your friends and the evening. Here's Marcella's recipe. http://www.epicurious.com... & have a wonderful evening!

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sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

This Bolognese (meat-based) lasagna recipe is easy and delicious. I've probably made it at least 10x. What I like about it is that there is no ricotta. You would need to double or triple the recipe to serve your guests and if want leftovers. Do a test run exactly as wriiten and read all the comments. Fool-proof way to prepare is to use 2 8x8 pans. This can be made and baked the day before if kept the refrigerator then warmed in the oven. Here it is: https://food52.com/recipes...

Emiko Davies has an Italian-centric recipe column for desserts, mains, sides - you may want to search for her recipes on this site.

There are so many versions of lasagna I enjoy and its hard to pin down one but the one above is tried and true to me and satisfies my lasagna cravings!

Also, search for garlic bread.

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Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Nancy is a food writer, historian, and author of many books, her most recent being Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin.

added over 3 years ago

Here's a whole article I wrote several years ago for Saveur about lasagna bolognese, the classic dish from Bologna: http://www.saveur.com/article... You'll find a couple of different recipes in the article but Anna Nanni's is the most classic. Anna is (or at least she was) the pasta + ragu maker at a wonderful restaurant called da Amerigo, in Savigno, just outside Bologna. Worth a visit too.

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Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Nancy is a food writer, historian, and author of many books, her most recent being Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin.

added over 3 years ago

Sorry! This is the correct link for that Saveur article I mentioned: http://www.saveur.com/article...

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Dominic Brannigan
added over 3 years ago

First things first in my opinion lasagna has become a staple in my house.
I'll post my recipe today for you to see
Bolognese sauce with a béchamel sauce is by far the best. I'm not sure when your planning the dinner

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Dominic Brannigan

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ChefJune
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Makiing homemade pasta is fun, messy and very rewarding. That said, lasagne is not a dish I would make the noodles for. A good dried lasagne noodle will work just fine. (Probably 98% of all lasagne makers use dried pasta.) I always purchase imported Italian pasta, and there are many good brands. DeCecco is probably the most widely available.
Since it's your first time making it, I'd go with a recipe that has lots of explanation included. Nancy Harmon Jenkins' recipe that she linked to in this thread would be a good one, as would Marcella Hazan's.

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Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Nancy Harmon Jenkins

Nancy is a food writer, historian, and author of many books, her most recent being Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil, forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin.

added over 3 years ago

Interesting comment, June, and it reflects a discussion I've been having with my daughter Sara as we prepare a book about pasta. Sara (chef at Porsena in NYC) says she would NEVER countenance using anything but freshly made pasta, and I say, hmm, there are times when it's just too much trouble. I do agree that the finest result comes from silky hand-made pasta butbutbut, there are times indeed when life's too short and you just have to make do.

sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

Spoken like a chef, not a home cook.

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aargersi
aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Here are my several cents' worth!
1) I am on team dried pasta - pick you challenges and don't take them all on the first time
2) sauce - there's no rule that says you can't have both! Why not a tomato layer at the bottom of the pan, then noodles, cheeses and meats (more on that) then béchamel, then noodles then red sauce? Or top with béchamel - something along those lines. One thing I have learned over time is to use more sauce than initially looks necessary - the noodles will soak some up, and you want it to shine through in the dish (well, I like a lot of sauce anyhow)
3) meats: you could use a combination of grounds meat(s) (say beef and veal or pork) and/or - add some loose Italian sausage in with the meat. In any case, cook it in advance, don't put raw meat in the lasagna (this being your first go at it - that bit may not be obvious at the outset)
4) cheese - YES to ricotta and mozzarella, and I will also usually add parmesan, you might also consider asiago, pecorino, etc. Do you have a cheese person that you like at your grocery? I rely heavily on my cheese guy and my wine guy!
5) WINE - well the main answer is yes. Consider having both reds and whites (some folks don't like one or the other no matter what) Villa Anitori is a readily available, not too expensive and reliable producer. But if you have a wine guy or gal - ask them for help!
6) The Other Stuff - garlic bread and salad are sound accompaniments and the idea of a purchased dessert sounds like a good one - again - pick where your efforts will be directed and really shine. I like to make a compound (REALLY compound) butter with garlic, parmesan, fresh parsley, pepper, maybe red pepper flakes, and schmear that on a halved Italian loaf and let it toast up in the oven while the lasagna rests.

Good luck and report back!

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Dominic Brannigan
added over 3 years ago

I make everything myself, but the first lasagna I ever made was stoufers. I moved up from there. One step at a time. I only found a recipe for pasta that me an my 3 yr old can make together.
On the other hand I totally agree with this post.
from aagresi

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