Homemade Lasagna Bolognese with Fresh Pasta
The best lasagna recipes always start off with a homemade bolognese sauce, and if anyone ever tells you otherwise, don’t believe them! Bolognese sauce is a meat based sauce that originated in Bologna, Italy - hence the name ‘bolognese’. The building blocks of a true bolognese include onion, garlic and carrots. One of my secret ingredients in Italian tomato based dishes is adding tomato paste at just the right time in the cooking process. This allows for a depth and richness in flavour to develop. In this recipe adding 2 tablespoons of tomato paste to the browned beef allows the tomato paste to cook and slightly caramelize. This is followed by the deglazing process allowing any stuck on bits of flavour to be incorporated in the overall sauce. I must say my ultimate favourite part of this recipe is assembling it. What could be better than layers of mozzarella and Parmigiano cheese, between homemade lasagna noodles, and bolognese that all complement each other once baked? It’s a saucey and cheesy delight.
Yield: 8-10 servings
Fresh Pasta Dough Ingredients:
- 3.5 cups all-purpose flour, preferably Italian Type 00 - plus extra for dusting
- 5 whole eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 tsp water, if needed
- Crack eggs in a small bowl add pinch of salt, lightly whisk.
- Measure flour into a mound on clean working space. Make well in centre of flour, add eggs. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers, gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs, then knead for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth in texture. If mixture is too firm, add a little water; if it is too soft add extra flour.
3. Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in clear wrap, leave to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Lasagna Bolognese Ingredients:
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups ground beef
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white cooking wine
- 2 L tomato puree (tomato sauce)
- 1 can (14 oz) seedless chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated- plus 2 inch piece Parmesan rind (optional)
- 2 cups mozzarella, grated
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat, sauté onions for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrot and garlic, continue to sauté for additional 5 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste and cook for 1 minute longer. Deglaze beef with white wine, scraping any brown bits that have formed at the bottom of the pot (this is where major flavour is). Season meat with 1 tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper, stir to combine.
2. Next, add tomato puree (sauce), can of chopped tomatoes and piece of Parmesan rind (optional). Bring Bolognese sauce to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally. Season with remaining salt and pepper.
Getting ready to assemble lasagna:
- Set aside a stainless steel lasagna/roasting pan that is approximately 15x11x3 inches in size.
- Set up your pasta machine as per manufactures instructions.
- Cut your pasta dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten one piece of dough with your hands into a disc and lightly flour. Keep the other pieces covered with clear wrap to prevent it from drying out. Run pasta dough through the lasagna rollers on the thickest setting. Continue to run through pasta machine until you reach the thinnest setting. Set lasagna sheets on pasta rack. Note: if overlapping dough, lightly flour each piece to prevent any sticking together. Repeat until all dough is rolled out.
4.Preheat oven to 400° F. By the time all the pasta is rolled out and ready the Bolognese sauce should be ready as well.
5.The final assembly: Add Bolognese sauce to the bottom of the lasagna pan. Add lasagna noodles, plenty of Bolognese sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Note: Cooking the fresh noodles are not necessary in this recipe as it is freshly made and rolled out to the thinnest setting. Repeat until all ingredients have been used, ending off with Bolognese sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella on top.
6. Bake lasagna uncovered for 30 minutes and lightly golden on top. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Chef's Tip: Freeze left over tomato paste in small silicone moulds and then pop them out into a freezer bag for easy access. No more wasted half full tomato paste tins!