Obsession-worthy with a nutritious lift from greens, this traditional meat lasagna is as good as it gets. Crafted by a veteran of world-famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, it’s the kind of dish that will truly blow minds. And there are many optional shortcuts too. Bonus: you’ll learn how to make an epic gluten-free béchamel sauce!
Lasagna Bolognese with Greens
Once you get the hang of this recipe, you can modify it any way you like. For speed, you skip the mushrooms and/or use readymade marinara sauce rather than sauteeing your own onion, carrot, celery, and garlic (you can even skip the proscuitto, red pepper flakes, and rosemary). Whatever you do, it's still awesome. (But DO try the whole shebang when you have time; it's next level.) You can make, cover, and refrigerate the Bolognese up to 2 days in advance or assemble, cover, and refrigerate the whole lasagna a day in advance, then let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour prior to baking.
FOR THE RAGÙ BOLOGNESE:
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup boiling water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 celery stalks finely diced
- 1 carrot peeled and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 slices prosciutto 3 slices finely minced and 1 cut into strips
- 1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons finely minced fresh rosemary plus more leaves for sprinkling
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1⁄2 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine
- 1⁄2 cup milk
- 2 1⁄2 cups reduced-sodium gluten-free chicken stock
- Kosher salt
- 1 (1 by 3-inch rind) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
- 1 to 2 bunches winter greens such as kale, chard, or mustard, stemmed (optional)
FOR THE LASAGNA:
- 20 gluten-free brown-rice lasagna noodles
- Kosher salt
- 1 recipe Béchamel Sauce see below
- 5 1⁄2 ounces (about 1 3⁄4 cups) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut into small cubes
Make the ragù Bolognese:
In a small bowl, combine the porcini mushrooms with the boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the porcini and squeeze the excess liquid back into the bowl.
Rinse, finely mince, then reserve the porcini in a small bowl. Strain the soaking liquid through a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel into the bowl with the porcini.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Stir briefly, let the vegetables sizzle for a moment, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and only slightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
Raise the heat to medium and stir in the minced prosciutto, red pepper flakes, and rosemary. Stir in the ground beef, then spread the mixture in a single layer, letting the meat cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Stir, breaking up the meat with the spoon, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 7 minutes more, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat.
Add the tomato paste, stir well, and let cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the wine, milk, chicken stock, porcini and their juices, 2 teaspoons salt, and the cheese rind. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 90 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the greens, cook for 2 minutes, then transfer to a strainer to cool, reserving the cooking water. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water, coarsely chop the greens, and stir them into the ragù.
Return the reserved cooking water to a boil, add half of the noodles, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain. Repeat with the remaining noodles. Drain, arrange in one layer on a baking sheet, and cover with a damp towel until needed.
Assemble the lasagna:
Preheat the oven to 375oF. Remove and discard the cheese rind from the ragù. Spread 1⁄2 cup of the ragù in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 2⁄3 cup béchamel over the noodles, then top with 1 1⁄4 cups of the ragù and 1⁄2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat to create two additional layers of noodles, béchamel, ragù, and cheese. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread the remaining béchamel over the last noodle layer, sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄4 cup Parmigiano- Reggiano. Dot with the butter and sprinkle with the prosciutto strips and rosemary.
Cover the baking dish with foil, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until bubbling and hot, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the foil and broil for 3 minutes to brown the top. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 tablespoons gluten-free flour mix
- 4 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch or two of nutmeg
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 90 seconds to combine. Whisk in the milk, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and simmer while stirring, for 10 minutes longer. Season with salt and the nutmeg.
Recipe: Niki Ford
Photography: Dane Tashima