It’s finally feeling like a real New England winter here in Boston as temperatures have fallen into the teens and twenties. That inspired me yesterday to pick up a container of ricotta and a box of Italian No-Bake Lasagne Noodles from Trader Joe’s in order to assemble a comforting Lasagne Bolognese for dinner tonight, with leftovers for sure.
I had 3 freezer bags full of my Bolognese Giordano from efforts a few weeks ago, and had already purchased a 12-ounce package of TJ’s shredded Quattro Formaggio, so quick prep of a ricotta/milk bechamel and the assembly was all the work required to get this ready for dinner tonight.
I like an assertive lasagne bursting with flavor, and tender noodles that define each layer. That’s why I prefer the 4-cheese blend over mozzarella, and the no-bake noodles imported from Italy that I’m hard-pressed to differentiate from fresh lasagne sheets.
Here’s the recipe. I haven’t tasted it yet but all my instincts and previous lasagne experience tell me it’s gonna be great!
LASAGNE BOLOGNESE GIORDANO
assembled and ready for oven
16 No-Bake Italian Lasagne Noodles, preferably from Trader Joe’s (best value) softened in hot water for about 10 minutes and laid out on tea towels to absorb excess water.
5 cups Bolognese Giordano or your favorite Bolognese sauce
12-ounce package Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio shredded cheese
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
For Ricotta-Bechamel Filling
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk (or add a bit of half & half to low-fat or fat-free milk)
1 cup whole milk ricotta
Pinch of salt
A couple grinds of black pepper
Make the bechamel…
In a medium sauce pan melt the butter over low heat and whisk in the flour until it’s incorporated. Slowly add the milk, whisking, until the mixture is thick and smooth. Remove from heat, add the ricotta, salt & pepper, and allow to cool in fridge about 15 minutes.
Use a 9 x 13 or similar size 3″ deep baking dish for this. My Emile Henry baker is slightly smaller, about 8-1/2 x 12, but it worked out perfectly.
Spread 1 cup of sauce over bottom of baking dish. Lay 4 noodles over this, slightly overlapping. Spread 1/3 of the bechamel evenly over the noodles, then spread another cup of the sauce, sprinkle with 1/4 of the shredded cheese (3 ounces), and 1/4 cup of the grated cheese.
Make two more layers using 4 noodles, 1/3 of bechamel, sauce, 1/4 of shredded cheese, and 1/4 cup grated cheese. Then finish with final layer of noodles topped with remaining 1 cup sauce and remaining 3 ounces of shredded cheese.
If baking right away, cover with foil and bake at 375º for one hour. remove foil and bake a little longer until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
(prep can be done early in the day, refrigerated, and baked later after letting it sit at room temperature for about an hour)