Friday, 10 March 2017

Lasagne alla Bolognese, food that makes you happy

Lucio Dalla (1943 - 2012) is one of Bologna's best loved singer song writers. I've put in this video from you tube of one of his most popular songs so you can listen to it while making your Lasagne alla Bolognese.

There are so many Italian dishes that have become household names all over the world, yet, within Italy, they all come from a specific region.
The home of Lasagne or Pasticcio as it is also known is Emilia Romagna. Bologna is the main city of this region and so anything that is alla Bolognese will often be nourishing and rich. The food from this region is tasty, rich creamy sauces, tortellini, filled pasta, Parma ham, Parmesan cheese all come from Emilia - Romagna.

Lasagne is  usually one of those dishes that is described as Comfort Food. It's a perfect dish to make for the weekend. you can make it in advance, actually it's best made in advance because it creates a lot of washing up. you can't dash it off in a hurry, you have to take your time.

Here is the recipe I used, from a packet of oven-ready pasta sheets.

250g pasta sheets

 Bolognese sauce, or Ragu

300g minced meat,
2 carrots, grated
1 onion, finely sliced
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 large jar of passata
mixed dried herbs
olive oil
red wine
salt and pepper

Bechamel sauce

70g flour
90g butter
1 litre of milk

In a large pan, cook the carrots, onion and celery with some olive oil.
add salt and pepper to taste and pour over some red wine
Add the tomato sauce and herbs and cook slowly over a gentle heat for about 2 hours.
Make the Bechamel sauce by melting the butter and then stirring in the flour. Gradually add the milk and seasonings and stir over a low heat until smooth and creamy.

Butter an oven proof dish and layer the pasta sheets, meat sauce and Bechamel sauce alternatively, adding grated Parmesan cheese to each layer.
Now you can either cook it straight away for about 20 - 30 minutes at 180 or leave it to cool thoroughly then cover and store in the fridge for the weekend.
Enjoy with a glass of red wine and a green salad.

The people of Bologna and the whole region of Emilia-Romagna are  renowned for their warmth and friendliness Maybe it's something to do with all their lovely food and wine, but they are a happy lot.

Here are some random interesting facts about Bologna:-

There used to be about two hundred towers in Bologna. There are only a few left now.
There are lots of Porticos, about 30 kms of them and when it rains you can walk all over the city without an umbrella and keep dry.

Bologna University is the oldest in Europe, older than Oxford and Cambridge.

One of Italy's best loved poets taught at Bologna University, although he was born in Tuscany in Pietrasanta, Lucca;
Giosue Carducci (1835 1907). He was the first Italian to receive the Nobel prize for Literature, in 1906.

One of his most famous poems San Martino is often quoted on foggy Autumn days in the same way that Anglo Saxons might go around saying 'i wonder lonely as a cloud' when they see the first daffodils.

Here is the first verse

San Martino

La nebbia agli irti colli
piovigginando sale
E sotto il maestrale
Urla e biancheggia il mar

have a lovely weekend

Everything ready, ragù, bechamel sauce and pasta sheets and a chunk of Parmesan cheese for grating

Either let cool and cover then store in the fridge or cook in the oven for half an hour

Recipe from the packet of pasta sheets

Ready to eat

Meals that make you happy

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