Protest Lasagna

06 Mar 2013

Worried about what the next frozen lasagna you pull from your freezer may contain? As the list of products recalled for undisclosed inclusion of horsemeat grows – now concerning 24 countries and multiple food companies – Slow Food Italy, along with a number of restaurants, has launched a campaign “Ne abbiamo le tasche Ripiene!” to protest against the escalating incidence of food scandals. From now until March 17, chefs across the country will be preparing traditional filled pasta dishes, revealing the recipe and exact origin of the ingredients to their customers. Lasagna, ravioli, tortellini and meatballs of all kinds will be on the menu: traditional dishes, made with care as they have been for centuries.

You too can try one of the dishes on offer. This traditional Lasagna Bolognese recipe comes from Trattoria Serghei, an authentic restaurant in central Bologna. It is made with fresh spinach pasta – an unusual variation that can be replaced with plain fresh or dry pasta sheets if you prefer – and Ragù alla Bolognese, Italy’s most famous meat-based pasta sauce. The ragù comes in many variations and you can certainly make your own adjustments. 

Be sure to cook more than you need, and freeze* individual or family portions for later!

Lasagna Bolognese

Serves 6


For the pasta:

200gr spinach

a pinch of salt

400gr flour
3 free-range eggs

For the sauce:
2 celery sticks, diced

1 carrot, diced

½ onion, diced

50gr pancetta (or good quality bacon), cubed
500gr lean beef, finely diced (or minced)
150gr lean pork, finely diced (or minced)
1 chicken liver, chopped (optional)
1 chicken gizzard, chopped (optional)
500gr chopped canned tomatoes
1 cup milk

extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

To assemble:
500ml béchamel sauce**
200gr Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1 knob of butter

Wash the spinach and cook for a few minutes in lightly salted boiling water. Drain and press the excess water out of the spinach with a large spoon, then chop finely and leave to cool.
Pour the flour onto a clean workbench. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs, incorporating well. Add the spinach and mix until you have a firm and elastic dough. Cover with a cloth and leave to rest.

To prepare the sauce: fry the celery, carrot and onion gently in a pan with olive oil for a few minutes. Add the pancetta and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes and then add the pork and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the chicken liver and gizzard, then the beef and cook gently for around 30 minutes, stirring often.
Add the milk to the sauce and cook until it has evaporated. Now add the tomatoes and a cup of warm water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on a low flame for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, roll out your pasta dough (see a step-by-step guide here) and cut it into large rectangles. Boil each pasta sheet in lightly salted water for a few minutes, then rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process and lay out to dry on kitchen towels.

Grease a large baking pan with a knob of butter and assemble the dish, starting with a layer of meat sauce on the bottom topped with pasta sheets, followed by sauce and then a layer of béchamel and grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Continue layering in the same way until all the ingredients are used.
Bake at 180 °C for about an hour.
Leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.

*Follow the usual rules of freezing cooked meals: cook the lasagna and allow to cool before transferring to the freezer – either in a covered dish or in individually wrapped portions. When ready to use, defrost in the fridge and heat as usual in oven. Do not re-freeze.

**To make béchamel: warm 500ml milk. In a separate pan melt 50g of butter and stir in 40g flour, taking care not to brown the mix. Remove from heat and wisk in a small amount of milk. Return to low heat and gradually add the rest of the milk, wisking continually until you have a thick and creamy sauce.

Recipe from Le Ricette di Ostere d’Italia by Slow Food Editore

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