Beef Lasagne

Discussion in 'Savory' started by Lee_C, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    I've been threatening myself for a while to attempt the rather intimidating Lasagne and I finally did it today from scratch.
    Took hours from prep to mouth though! Ingredients included Gran Padano which I grated, a whole ball of mozarella sliced and put between layers, passata, chopped tomatoes from tin plus some fresh tomatoes I put in the food processor, couple of sticks of celery, peeled and finely chopped, diced onion, grated carrot, garlic cloves, 500g beef mince, beef stock, salt, pepper, tomato puree, italian seasoning. And I made a béchamel of butter, flour, milk, with a little nutmeg and some gran Padano thrown in. I've still got enough mince mixture in the saucepan to layer another lasagne, I'll just make some more sauce to go with it. My verdict? Oh yeah! :D

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    Lee_C, Apr 10, 2019
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  2. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Ohhhh that looks so delicious! Béchamel is the way to go with lasagna. Some years ago when I was in Tuscany at a cooking school, we made pots of béchamel everyday. My favorite use was in lasagna with mushrooms and spinach.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 10, 2019
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  3. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Thanks :). It's definitely delicious, though I have to say, it was slightly lacking in cheesiness for me and I thought I'd put enough in. Since you're good with Béchamel, do you think I needed more of it? It was creamy nearer the top but not quite enough deeper down. I think I did 3 layers. The lower layers had a moderate amount of béchamel while the top layer I coated more fully. Maybe I should have used as much as I did for the top all the way through? Mind you, I did forget to coat the second layer of mince with the Béchamel, I had just put the mozzarella slices on. I'm also wondering if I should have used considerably more parmesan/Padano? I'm not sure which gives the cheesier flavour, the mozzarella or the parmesan.

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    Lee_C, Apr 11, 2019
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    Becky Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that looks amazing!! :D You're making me hungry @Lee_C and it's not even lunchtime!
     
    Becky, Apr 11, 2019
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  5. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Becky! Wouldn't it be nice if we could send food by email, I'd send you some :D
     
    Lee_C, Apr 11, 2019
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  6. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Really @Lee_C, your assembly and amounts look like a lasagna they would make in Tuscany.

    The amount of bechamel is really a personal preference. I happen to love it, so I use more in each layer than I was taught.

    The way I assemble is lightly coat the baking dish with olive oil


    Bechamel

    Ragu

    Parmigiana

    Noodles


    Since I use a rectangle baking dish, I alternate the orientation of the noodles for each layer. So the first layer of noodles is laid lengthwise, the next layer crosswise. The third layer lengthwise, then fourth layer crosswise.

    I take care not overlap the noodles more than 1/4”. Since I make noodles fresh, I cut them to size to ensure there isn’t a lot of overlap.

    Adding a thicker layer of bechamel and ragu on top is correct. Since the top is exposed to the dry heat in the oven, extra sauce keeps the lasagna from drying out.

    In Tuscany mozzarella is not used in lasagna. The flavor is so delicate it just gets lost in the dish. Grated parmigiano is the cheese of choice, but not in large amounts. The head of the cooking school was a good historian, so we had to stick to traditional ingredients and methods.

    But just because the Italians do it one way does not mean others can’t do it differently.

    In the US, cooks use lots of low moisture mozzarella in lasagna. But it’s not about the flavor because mozzarella has very little flavor. It’s all about the texture.

    Low moisture mozzarella melts and turns stringy and stretchy. Mentally we associate that stringy texture with cheesiness.

    A couple of weeks ago I attended a cheesemaking lecture at CIA. In the making of and discussion on mozzarella, the class let out a collective “ahhh” when the mozzarella was pulled to the string stage. Like Pavlov’ dog, we saw that stringy cheese and mentally associated it with cheesiness we love on pizza and lasagna.

    One way to get more cheese flavor is layer low moisture mozzarella over the top and baked until it is bubbling and brown. The browning is from the natural sugar in the milk. When it caramelizes it creates flavor. When I make American style lasagna, after the lasagna is baked, I turn the broiler on for a couple of minutes to caramelize the mozzarella.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 11, 2019
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  7. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I did think that the Mozarella didn't have much flavour, so you've confirmed that. I think I'll continue to use the mozzarella for the stringy stretchy texture that you described and I'll grate a ton more parmesan and use more bechemel to make it creamier and cheesier.
     
    Lee_C, Apr 11, 2019
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  8. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Now that’s a lasagna I would love to eat!
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 12, 2019
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  9. Lee_C

    Lee_C Well-Known Member

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    The 500g beef mince ragu I made has gone a long way, I had enough ragu for a complete second lasagne. So I made a larger amount of Bechamel today so that each layer could be almost saturated, and added loads more parmesan into it and also saturated each layer. Also used up another mozzarella ball. I drove to my mum and gave it to her, saved her cooking as she's 92. I baked it at home and it was still hot when I got to her.
    She just rang me to say how she loved it. I was worried because my mum will tell me straight if something is not good, lol. I asked her if it was cheesy enough and she said yes very much so!
     
    Lee_C, Apr 12, 2019
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  10. Lee_C

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Wow that really sounds like a delicious lasagna. And how sweet of you to take your mom a lasagna.

    Yeah our moms have a way of telling it straight up like it is :oops: But at least you know when you nailed. :D

    Congrats on hitting the mark on your lasagna!
     
    Norcalbaker59, Apr 12, 2019
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