This is a decadent and delicious lasagna made with a hearty meat sauce and a bechamel - no mozzarella or ricotta.
From Cook's Illustrated.
From Cook's Illustrated.
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium rib celery, chopped
0.5 small onion, chopped
1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes with juice
2 tbsp butter
8 oz ground beef, 90% lean
8 oz ground pork
8 oz ground veal
1.5 c whole milk
1.5 c dry white wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
0.25 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp butter
0.25 c flour
4 c whole milk
0.75 tsp salt
Noodles and cheese:
15 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
4 oz (2 c) grated Parmesan
Process the onion, celery and carrot (mirepoix) in a food processor until fine (roughly 10 1-second pulses). Transfer mixture to a bowl. Wipe out the food processor bowl, then add the tomatoes and their juice. Pulse until finely chopped (6 to 8 1-second pulses).
Heat butter in a Dutch over or heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add the mirepoix and cook until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add ground meats and cook, breaking meats into roughly 1" pieces, for about 1 minute. Add milk and stir to continue breaking up meat. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid has evaporated, 20 to 30 minutes. Break up any remaining chunks of meat with a wooden spoon or potato masher.
Add wine and bring to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, 20 to 30 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste until combined (about 1 minute). Add chopped tomatoes and juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool until warm but handle-able, about 30 minutes.
Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until foaming. Add the flour and whisk until combined into a smooth paste. Cook for 1.5 minutes, but do not let the flour brown. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat and bring to a full boil, whisking often. Add salt, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan when stirring. Remove form heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
Set oven rack in the middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
Lay noodles in a 9 x 13 dish and cover with very hot tap water. Let sit for 5 minutes, agitating occasionally to keep the noodles from sticking together. Remove and lay on a clean kitchen towel; pat dry with towels.
Dry out dish and spray with non-stick spray.
Mix 0.75 c bechamel into the meat sauce.
Smooth 1 cup meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Layer three noodles on top, not overlapping them. Spread 1.25 c meat sauce over noodles, covering the noodles but not reaching the edge of the dish. Drizzle 0.33 c bechamel over the meat sauce, then sprinkle with 0.33 c Parmesan. Repeat this layering (noodles, meat sauce, bechamel, Parmesan) three more time. Place final three noodles on top and cover completely with remaining bechamel sauce, allowing it to spill over noodles. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
Spray a large sheet of foil with non-stick cooking spray. Cover lasagna with sprayed side down.
Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove foil sheet, increase heat to 450°F and bake until surface is spotty brown, about 15 minutes.
Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
Note: I made this with fresh pasta noodles and it was divine! You can also split this into 2 8x8 lasagnas and keep one in the freezer for later.