A Traditional Lasagne Recipe and dinner with Lucy Lean

Lucy Lean and I met about a year ago over dinner at The Avalon Hotel. I liked her immediately and her energy was infectious.  Then, a few weeks later, I learned that she would by my roommate at Food Blog Camp in Cancun, Mexico.  Lucky me!

While most of us were enjoying the afternoon sun or participating in a cooking demo, Lucy was holed up in our gorgeous suite, writing, talking on the phone to the most impressive chefs, and editing her photos for her new book; Made in America: Our Best Chefs Reinvent Comfort Food. Today, finally, after months of anticipation, her book has been released. And to celebrate, Lucy is hosting a virtual dinner party and we are all invited to see whose cooking.

Lucy asked a few of us to share our most favorite American comfort food.  I have so many; Macaroni and Cheese, Shephards Pie, Pasta Carbonara(nothing quite beats ham and eggs), Meatloaf, and Lasagne.  It was hard to choose.  However, after reading her book, it was Lidia Bastianich’s story that inspired me to make my favorite comfort food; traditional lasagne. Growing up, I didn’t like lasagne. It was too heavy.  Then, while in college, I had eaten something marvelous; lasagne with two sauces; a bolognese sauce and a bechamel sauce.  I was in love.  Although it took a while to perfect, this recipe is the one that is most often requested by those that have experienced it. Other recipes in Lucy’s book that I cannot wait to try;  Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s Green Corn Tamales, Andrew Little’s pretzel rolls, and Ludo‘s duck fat fried chicken are all high on my list to test and ultimately eat

What I love most about Lucy’s book is the way she tells her story.  Coupled with her yummy photos, stories about the best chefs in the country, and inspiring recipes, this book is bound be a treasure that we will all embrace for years to come. And, because I am one of the fortunate few to know and love Lucy, I want to share her book with you.  I am offering a giveaway of Lucy’s newly released book to one lucky reader.

How to Enter

You have until Tuesday, October 11th, 12 midnight PST to enter this giveaway. The Winner will be chosen via random.org and will have 2 days to respond or a new winner will be selected. U.S.A. residents only.

You can enter multiple times by leaving a separate comment for each of the following steps listed below:

• tell me what your favorite comfort food is….or what you would make if you had this book.
• go to Lucy’s facebook page and become her friend.
• go to The Urban Baker’s facebook page and become my friend
• tweet about this giveaway. make up one of your own or tweet this sample message: pls RT @theurbanbaker has a copy of @LucyLean book #giveaway. Comfort food at its best. http://is.gd/gfKzLg
• follow @therubanbaker on Twitter
• follow Lucy Lean on Twitter
• sign up for my RSS feeds and receive my blog posts each week
• Stumble this post and follow me (and see who I follow) @theurbanbaker on StumbleUpon.

Good Luck!!

10/12/11
Congratulations to Sara of Pao e Queijo Blog – she’s the winner!

Traditional Northern Italian Lasagne Recipe


Ingredients

lasagne noodles
fresh, grated parmesan cheese(about 1 1/2 cups)

bolognese sauce
2 onions, cut in quarters
2 medium carrots, rough chopped
2 celery stalks, rough chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
4 Tbsp. butter
20 oz. ground veal, preferebly organic and grass fed
2/3 cup white wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. grated, fresh nutmeg
2 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

bechamel sauce
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups whole milk
pinch of nutmeg
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Instructions

for the bolognese sauce:
• in the workbowl of cuisinart fitted with the metal blade, pulse the onions until they are diced very small.  transfer to a medium sized bowl.  in the same workbowl, pulse the carrots and the celery.  add to the onions. set aside.
• in a heavy duty stock pot, melt the butter.  add the veal and cook and until it loses it pink color.  I like to break it up with the back of a wooden spoon, which helps in the cooking process.
• add the vegetables and cook until they begin to get soft, about 8 minutes, stirring occassionally.
• turn the fire up to high and add the wine, deglazing the bottom of the pan. when it comes to a boil, turn the heat down to simmer and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
• add the heavy cream and the nutmeg(I grate the nutmeg directly into the pot).  let this thicken, about 7 minutes.
• add the crushed tomatoes, stir all the contents until well combined.
• cover and simmer for 2 hours.  stirring occassionally to avoid burning the bottom.
• when the 2 hours is up add salt and pepper to taste.
for the bechamel sauce:
• melt the butter in a heavy duty sauce pan over low heat.
• when the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk for about 1 minute to combine.  you want to slightly cook the flour but you don’t want to burn it.
• gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
• reduce heat and season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.
• simmer for 2o minutes or until the sauce thickens. you want to be able to dollop it over the noodles, not pour it.
assembly:
• if using noodles that require boiling, bring a large stock pot of water to a boil.  add kosher salt.  place noodles in the stock pot and boil for about 6 minutes, stirring so they don’t stick together.  drain noodles and set aside. they will still be somewhat stiff, but a pliable. if using the “no-boil” noodles, take them out of the box.
• butter your baking dish. pour a thin layer of the bolognese sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
• place lasagne noodles on top of the sauce, pressing them down.
• ladle a portion of bolognese sauce over the noodles to cover.  top that with a ladle of the bechamel sauce.  sprinkle a very generous poriton of the grated parmesan over sauces.
• repeat the process two more times.
• when you get to the top layer, pour the bolognese to cover (I use more on the top than I do in the layers) and dollop a bit of the remaining bechemal sauce over that.  cover with lots and lots of cheese.
• loosly fit a piece of foil over your baking dish.  place dish in a pre-heated 400* oven and bake until warmed through, about 20-35 minutes.  remove foil and place lasagne in the broiler for about 3 mintues, or just until the top starts to brown and bubble.
• let sit, covered, for 10 mintues before eating.
• we like to eat this with a caesar salad and baked kale chips. it’s a great weeknight meal for those of us on the go and makes fantastic left overs.

The Urban Baker / SusanSalzman.com

More recipes from Made in America:

Purseland Salad – Georgia Pellegrini
Chocolate Walnut Oatmeal Freezer Cookies – Dishing up Delights
American Flag Cake – I am Mommy
Herbed Baked Cheese – Aida Mollenkamp
Crawfish Etouffee – Deliciously Organic

Showing 39 comments
  • Adrienne
    Reply

    A comfort food favorite at our house is meatloaf. Whether turkey or beef, it always has the effect of a food hug.

  • Nancy@acommunaltable
    Reply

    Oh dear me…. I keep looking at Lucy’s book.. it’s so nice and shiny right now.. sadly, I KNOW it isn’t going to stay that way… there are just too many delicious recipes in there that I cannot wait to make!! This lasagne of course is on the list (heck, the whole darn book is on “the list”) but since I have a true love of lasagna it’s quickly edging up to the top! Beautiful photo also Susan – it makes me want to just dig in!!

    • Susan
      Reply

      I would give you a piece, but M took the last of it for lunch today. I like to make a lot of the bolognese and freeze it. That way, next time, making lasagne doesn’t seem so daunting. And I agree with you on wanting to make the whole book – maybe we could start a Made in America challenge? Hmmm – one more thing to put on the “to-do” list.

  • Amanda
    Reply

    I just got the book so if I win please feel free to select another winner… but I just had to comment ans tell you how much I want to make this recipe! Your pictures and words are beautiful and this is such a great contest! Thank you!

  • Sarah
    Reply

    Looks like a fun read and resource! I wanna win!

  • Linda
    Reply

    This looks like a great book…I will definitely try your lasagna recipe. I just made some the other night with fresh pasta sheets, goats milk ricotta, and some freshly made mozzarella….so light!

    Our family favorite comfort food is my chicken soup…without a doubt.

    I already follow you everywhere…thanks so much for the chance to win!

    • Susan
      Reply

      thanks for following me everywhere! I must return the favor! x

  • Bebe
    Reply

    I would have to pick Mac and Cheese as my favorite comfort food…love your blog!

  • aida mollenkamp
    Reply

    I’m right there with you on the love for lasagna. My mother’s classic bolognese is a short-cut version but is still my go to!

  • Georgia Pellegrini
    Reply

    So fun to be a part of this dinner with you! Such a gorgeous dish.

  • Reply

    Susan, I am so proud of Lucy too! Awesome of you to host a giveaway of this treasured & soon to be a classic cookbook. Everyone should own a copy 🙂

  • Esi
    Reply

    Don’t enter me since I already have the book, but I am loving seeing the recipes being reproduced by bloggers. So fun!

  • Reply

    My favorite comfort food often involve chocolate but I have to say pasta dishes like this one are a close second. Sounds like a wonderful book.

  • Reply

    I like you on Facebook.

  • Reply

    Tweeted about the book.

  • Reply

    I follow you on Twitter.

  • Sarah @ pão e queijo
    Reply

    What a lovely book! The pretzel rolls sound great! Lasagne is a wonderful comfort food, but my personal favorite is risotto. It’s great for these cool nights!

    • Susan
      Reply

      Hi Sarah – congrats – you are the winner. Can you email me your address and info to snsalzman@gmail.com! 🙂

  • Sarah @ pão e queijo
    Reply

    I am a fan of the Urban Baker on Fb!

  • linda
    Reply

    Did you mean OCT 11th rather than Sept? My favorite comfort food is mac and cheese. Book looks wonderful!

    • Susan
      Reply

      thank you, Linda!!!

  • Monica
    Reply

    Hi Susan

    I am a big fan of yours. I like you on Facebook and I follow this blog. It keeps me going and a special treat at work! Can’t wait to try the lasagne recipe….one of my brother’s favorites and it is his birthday soon so I will make it there.

    I think one of my all time favorites would be my mom’s version of beef enchiladas. It is a recipe that her parents taught her and then past to me!

    Thanks

    Monica

    • Susan
      Reply

      Hi Monica, I like you, too! What a fabulous birthday dinner for your brother. He is lucky to have you! Let me know how it turns out(fyi, I have used both turkey and pork in the past and it is just as good).

      • Monica
        Reply

        Thanks Susan. I was going to try a comb of organic beef and pork as it is hard to find veal in northern Colorado! Can’t wait to try it. I always try a new lasagna recipe for his birthday and have not found one that I truly love. I can’t wait to try this one and I just got a new Le Creuset baker that will be perfect for it. Yeah!!!

        • Susan
          Reply

          Everything tastes better in a Le Creuset – don’t you agree?!

  • Randi
    Reply

    Lasagna is probably my favorite comfort food. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • Karen
    Reply

    I love the theme of this blog today! Congratulations to Lucy Lean on her new cookbook and for an incredible journey through food. I just put her book on my Christmas wish list, unless I win it :o).

    My favorite comfort food…Tuna Casserole. In fact I just made it tonight for dinner. The rain started coming down this afternoon and I needed a reason to turn on the oven. This time I used whole grain penne, romano and sharp raw cheddar, peas and tuna in a homemade cream sauce. My mom used to make it with cream of mushroom soup, not sure why because the cream sauce is so easy to make. Yum!

    • Susan
      Reply

      Hi Karen – so glad you like my ode to Lucy Lean! Growing up I hated “baked tuna” as my mom called it. But when I was pregnant with my first child, I craved it?! She made hers with tuna, eggs, peas, bread crumbs, ketchup, grated carrots. Baked it in a 9×9″ pan and it was crispy on top and moist in the center. I added a bit of grated gruyere to the top and I have to say that is one good comfort food!

  • Nancy
    Reply

    This book looks great! I would love to win it 🙂
    I’d have to say my favorite comfort food is spaghetti & meatballs with Italian sausage. I don’t like to eat the sausage but love the flavor it adds to my sauce. Ice cream runs a close second!!

  • Mary Papoulias Platis
    Reply

    Hi Girls!
    Love everything you do! Met Lucy in Santa Monica and she was so funny and lovely- being a first-generation Greek girl, I loved tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich!

  • Mom24@4evermom
    Reply

    My favorite comfort food is chicken and dumplings. Yum.

  • Mom24@4evermom
    Reply

    I get your RSS feeds.

  • Susan Young
    Reply

    Lasagna, Meatloaf, Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes… comfort food with a smile! I make everything from scratch and love trying new recipes!
    I sent friend request and also liked your facebook page. Would love this cookbook!

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