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Green Lasagna Bolognese

Lasagne Verdi alla Bolognese is one of those timeless classic dishes that every cook should know how to prepare. Unfortunately it comes in many guises, most of them poor shadows of the original made by well-meaning chefs. So when I wanted to make it as it should be, I went to Bologna and met with Giovanni Tamburini, the owner of Tamburini, that well known venerable food emporium that stocks the prized ingredients and prepared foods of the region known as Emilia Romagna. Many consider this region the gastronomic center of Italy. Everything from prosciutto di Parma hanging from old iron meat hooks in the ceiling to display after display of local salames, felsino sausage, mortadella, culatello and coppa to the signature fresh pastas including tortelli, taglierini, tagliatelle, cappelletti, tortelloni and lasagne to the king of cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano are proudly made here. I did not know where to look first and my mouth was watering. Freshly made lasagna has a lightness that commercially prepared ones could never match. That’s because the pasta is made with flour and eggs, rolled very thin, and the lasagna sheets sandwiched together with hardly noticeable amounts of sauce between each layer. There is no heavy tasting version made with thick slices of mozzarella or dense ricotta cheese between the layers as we find here. Making this lasagna is a labor of love but well worth the time for a true and delicious payoff. Both the béchamel and the ragù sauces can be made several days ahead and refrigerated. Re-heat them slowly when ready to assemble the lasagna and if the béchamel sauce is too thick, thin it down with a little milk.

Serves 6 - 10

Ingredients

1 recipe Bechamel Sauce

1 recipe ragù sauce 

1 recipe spinach pasta (Search for Lasagne Spinach Noodles)

1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions

Directions 

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 14 x 11 x 3 inch deep lasagna pan.

Spread a thin coating of the béchamel sauce in the bottom of the pan.

Place a layer of the pasta sheets over the sauce. Spread another thin coating of the béchamel sauce over the pasta and then a thin coating of the ragù sauce over the béchamel. Sprinkle the top with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese.

Continue making layers as above but reserve about 1/2 cup of the béchamel sauce and 1/3 cup of the cheese for the top layer. Be sure to spread the sauce evenly over the top layer to completely cover the pasta.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the lasagna is hot and the top has a nice crust.

Loosely cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it; the cuts will not come out as even blocks but be rather loose. Serve immediately.

This recipe is featured on show 2424 - Cooking at the Barilla Academy.

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