Cosimina Meraglia

Lasagna al Forno (Baked Lasagna)

1 tbsp olive oil 15 mL
1-1/2 tbsp salt 22 mL
1 lb fresh lasagna noodles 500 g
(or 1-1/2 lbs/750 g dried)
2 tbsp butter, softened 30 mL
1-1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese 375 mL
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 mL
White Sauce (recipe follows)
Meat Sauce (recipe follows)
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 175 mL
3/4 cup grated Romano or Asiago cheese 175 mL

Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC). Spread butter into bottom and sides of 18- x 13- x 3-inch (45 x 33 x 8 cm) roasting pan. Set aside.
In large pot, bring 16 cups (4 L) water, oil and salt to boil. Cook lasagna noodles for 3 to 5 minutes (5 to 7 minutes for dried) or until al dente (tender, but firm). Drain and rinse under cool running water. Drain well.
In bowl, combine mozzarella with pepper. In separate bowl, combine Parmesan and Romano cheeses.
Assembly: Spread one-quarter of the meat sauce in buttered pan. Spread one-quarter of the white sauce on top. Top with one-third of the noodles, cutting to fit as necessary. Top with one-quarter of the meat sauce, then one-quarter of the white sauce. Sprinkle with one-third of the mozzarella mixture and one-third of the Parmesan mixture. Repeat layers with remaining noodles, meat sauce, white sauce and cheeses, ending with the Parmesan mixture.
Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes or until bubbling and hot. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Tip: A foil roasting pan works well for this recipe. Line the pan with parchment paper or foil for easy removal of lasagna. Place pan on a baking sheet before lifting. If you do not have a pan large enough, divide the ingredients between two 13- x 9-inch (3 L) baking pans.

Meat Sauce

2 onions, quartered 2
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 125 mL
2 tbsp olive oil 30 mL
1 lb lean ground beef 500 g
6 fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped 6
(about 4 cups/1 L)
2 cloves garlic, minced 2
2 cups crushed very ripe tomatoes 500 mL
or canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine 250 mL
1 cup chicken or beef stock 250 mL
1/4 cup tomato paste 50 mL
1/2 tsp (approx.) salt 2 mL
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 2 mL
Pinch ground nutmeg Pinch
5 bay leaves 5

In food processor, chop onion and basil together (or chop finely with a knife). Set aside.
In large pot, heat oil over high heat; brown beef, breaking up with a spoon. Add onion mixture and garlic; cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until soft. Stir in chopped tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, wine, stock, tomato paste, salt, pepper, nutmeg and bay leaves. Bring to boil; reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until thickened. Discard bay leaves. Season to taste with more salt, if desired. Makes about 8 cups (2 L).

White Sauce (Bechamel)

1/4 cup butter 50 mL
1/3 cup all-purpose flour 75 mL
1-1/2 cups milk 375 mL
2 egg yolks 2
1-1/2 cups shredded Parmesan and/or Asiago 375 mL
freshly ground black pepper

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks to loosen; whisk a small amount of milk mixture into egg yolks. Whisk back into pan and return to medium-low heat. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until pale and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Season to taste with pepper. Cover and keep warm or warm slightly before assembling lasagna. Makes about 2-1/2 cups (625 mL).


6 eggs, separated 6
1 lb mascarpone cheese 500 g
1/3 cup granulated sugar 75 mL
1/4 cup coffee-flavoured liqueur or to taste 50 mL
1 tbsp butter, softened 15 mL
1 pkg (14 oz/400 g) lady fingers 1
3 cups brewed espresso or strong coffee 750 mL
Grated semi-sweet chocolate

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until firm peaks. In separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in mascarpone and liqueur. Fold one-quarter of the egg whites into mascarpone mixture until blended. Fold in remaining egg whites just until blended.
Spread butter into 13- x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish or shallow casserole. One at a time, quickly dip half of the lady fingers into espresso and place in a single layer in dish. Spread with half of the mascarpone mixture over lady fingers. Repeat with remaining lady fingers and mascarpone mixture. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until slightly firm. (Can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw slightly in refrigerator before serving.) Garnish with grated chocolate. Scoop out into squares for serving. Makes 16 to 20 servings.

Caution: This recipe contains raw eggs. If you are concerned about the risk of eating raw eggs, cook the beaten yolk mixture in the top of a double boiler, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes or until thickened and hot. Let cool completely before continuing. Use pasteurized egg whites in place of the fresh egg whites.

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