California Central Coast Recipes
Seven Layer Homemade Lasagna with Lamb Ragu
Seven Layer Homemade Lasagna with Lamb Ragu is our variation of the classic Lasagna Bolognese. It uses Lamb Ragu instead of the classic Bolognese Ragu and plain pasta sheets instead of spinach pasta. This lasagna is to die for and you already know how to make the basic parts (three of my favorites) -Lamb Ragu, -Basamella Sauce and Fresh Egg Pasta.
The Lamb Ragu is an old favorite of mine and already posted on this website. It's easy to make and the ragu can be made in advance. Do what I do, -make a generous amount a day or two in advance and serve part of it with a simple pasta that day (when you are tired!), reserving the rest for the "grand" lasagna.
Basamella Sauce is one of the basics of classical Italian cooking, using just milk, butter and a little flour. Once you make a "white sauce" like this, you'll never settle for the glop that most unenlightened restaurants serve you.
And finally, the star of this recipe, any of the two pasta recipes, Fresh Egg Pasta by Hand, or Fresh Egg Pasta by Machine. But remember that the pasta is the star! Do not overload the dish with too much sauce that you loose the taste and texture of the pasta!
This recipe can be assembled a few hours in advance. Just cover and refrigerate. Before baking, remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes in advance to allow it to warm up a bit so it cooks evenly through.
Preparation time: 30 minutesCooking time: 45 minutes
1 Fresh Egg Pasta by Machine or Fresh Egg Pasta by Hand recipe
4-1/2 cups Lamb Ragu
3 cups Basamella Sauce
2 cups Grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
1 11x12 inch or a deep 9x12 inch baking pan (5 to 6 quart capacity)
1 Prepare the Basamella Sauce and Lamb Ragu as directed on the website. The sauces can be made in advance, just reheat when ready to use.
2 Prepare the Fresh Egg Pasta by Machine or Fresh Egg Pasta by Hand according to directions on the website. Roll out the pasta by machine or hand to thin sheets until you can just see your hand through the pasta. Cut the pasta into wide strips for cooking (if doing by hand, make the strips a little under 1/2 the width of the pan or less for easy handling).
3 Preheat the oven to 450F
4 For the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a good tablespoon of salt to the water, then add the fresh pasta and cook for two to three minutes. It should be undercooked. Remove the pasta from the pot and plunge immediately into very cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry. (Hint: when we make this recipe, we keep the water boiling and only cook enough pasta at a time for each layer as we make it).
5 Start the pasta layering by spreading 1/2 cup of the ragu in a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.
6 Place a layer of cooked pasta on top - cut the pasta and/or add pieces as needed to make the layer even. Evenly spread a generous 1/3 cup of basamella on top of the pasta layer. On top of the basamella spread 1/2 to 2/3 cup of ragu. The sauces should be just a thin layer and you should see the pasta. Finally, sprinkle a 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese evenly over the top. At this point check the combination of the sauces and correct the seasoning for salt and pepper if necessary.
7 Continue adding layers as above until you have six layers in the pan. (Hint: as you make the layers, level each layer out by adding a little more or little less sauce as needed to the low or high areas respectively.)
8 For the final layer, place the pasta on top, but finish the layer by spreading just the remaining basamella and cheese on top.
9 Place the finished lasagna into the 450F oven and reduce the heat immediately to 400F. Bake for 34 to 40 minutes or until browned and bubbling on top.
10 Remove from the oven when done and let cool for a few minutes to make serving easier.
This is a very robust Northern Italian style pasta dish. The wine of choice is either a good Sangiovese or a super Tuscan.