Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lasagna Bolognese

Lasagna Bolognese
serves 6
                                                                                                                                                                                                     prep time:  15 minutes
                                                                       sauce cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes
                                                                       Lasagna bake time:  35 minutes
                                                                       total time: 3 hours 20 minutes


Bolognese sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, 1/4 –inch chop
1 carrot, ¼-inch dice
1 celery stalk, ¼-inch dice
2 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into small cubes
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 pound ground beef
1 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk

Besciamella sauce:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste
dash freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons butter, quartered, to butter the baking dish
uncooked Lasagna noodles

prepare the Bolognese sauce:

Create a soffritto by sauteing the onion, carrots, and celery in the olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat until soft.  Add the raw bacon to the soffritto and cook for about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the meat; breaking it up well with a wooden spoon and stirring until all the ground meat is browned.  

Add the red pepper flakes and the parsley and cook for just 1 minute.

Drain off excess oil from the cooked meat.

Return the pot to the flame and add the wine, continue cooking until the alcohol is evaporated and the pot has been deglazed by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.

If you like your tomato sauce smooth pulse the tomatoes smooth in a food processor but remember true Italians prefer their sauce slightly chunky.

Add the tomatoes to the meat, season generously with salt and pepper and cook the sauce, over a medium flame partially covered for about 2 ½  hours, stirring occasionally. 

After 2 ½ hours finish the sauce by adding the whole milk, stir well and set aside, to cool off.

prepare the Besciamella sauce:

In a small pot, warm the 2 cups of milk.

In an appropriately sized pot over medium heat melt the butter 

Create a blonde roux by stirring the flour into the butter with a wooden spoon.  The roux is done when it loses all its flour taste.

Gradually ladle the warm milk into the pot with the butter/flour mixture, whisking constantly while bringing the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, stirring constantly until it is thoroughly incorporated. 

Season the sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and additional Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

bring it all together:

Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish well with the tablespoon of butter and add a very thin layer of the Bolognese sauce.

Add the first layer of lasagna noodles and in order, evenly distribute some of the Bolognese sauce, about 3 ladles Besciamella, and a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 

Repeat the process until you to create 3 layers. 

Top the lasagna with a final ladle of meat sauce and the remaining Besciamella, dot with a few squares of butter and finish with some additional shredded Parmesan.

bake the Lasagna:

Place the lasagna in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes.
Crisp the top of your lasagna by turning the oven to broil and broil the lasagna for about 5 minutes.


Allow the lasagna to set for about 15 minutes, slice into 6 servings and serve accompanied by grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, crusty Italian bread and a side salad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole
servings 8

                                                                            prep time:   5 minutes
                                                                            cook time:  3 hours 10 minutes
                                                                             total time:  3 hours  15 minutes


Creole seasoning:

1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

Creole sauce:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (14-ounces) can tomatoes, hand crushed
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
½ tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Creole seasoning
2 bay leaves

the shrimp:

1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp


Green onions, for garnish


Preheat crock pot on high.

sauté the vegetables:

In sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil to the ripple stage.

Add the green peppers, the onions, the garlic and the celery and sauté until the onions are translucent and softened.

Add the chili powder and sauté until the vegetables are coated and caramelized.

create the Creole sauce:

Remove the vegetable from heat and pour them into the crock pot. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste, the red wine, the hot sauce, the Worcestershire, the sugars, and the salt and pepper.

Stir in the Creole seasoning add the bay leaves, place the cover on your crock pot and cook, covered, for 3 hours.

bring it all together:

Add the shrimp and continue cooking for about 3 minutes.


Serve over cooked  white rice. Top with chopped green onions.

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