Lasagna alla Bolognese made with Moose Meat
Prep Time: 1 Hour
Cook Time (sauce): 2 Hours
Bake Time: 45 Minutes
5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Medium white onion, diced small
1 Carrot, diced fine
1 Celery stalk, diced fine
1 Garlic clove, chopped
1 Pound high-quality pork, ground
1 Pound moose meat, ground
1/2 Pound pancetta
3 Ounces tomato paste
1 Cup whole milk
1 Cup dry white wine (whatever you are drinking)
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
5 Tablespoons flour
3 Cups whole milk
1/2 Teaspoon ground nutmeg (fresh ground if possible)
4 Large eggs
3 1/2 Cups AP flour, plus 1/2 cup for dusting surface
8 Ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Step 1: Make the Bolognese sauce. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium-sized pot and add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Sweat until translucent, about 10-12 minutes. Add moose, pork and pancetta to the veggies. Cook for about 20 minutes, until meat is nicely browned. Then add tomato paste, milk, and wine and simmer over medium-low heat for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. This is supposed to be a thick meat sauce with a bit of creaminess to it. You can add a bit more wine if you feel it is too thick, but be careful not to make it too sauce-y.
Step 2: Make your pasta. Place flour in a bowl or on a clean work surface. Made a little well in the center of the flour and add the eggs (beat slightly first if you want). Use your hands to slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs, working in more flour from the edges as needed. Dough will be crumbly at first, but with persistent kneading the dough will turn pliable and smooth. Knead for about 5-6 minutes. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Portion dough into apricot-sized pieces after rest period. Roll out with a pasta machine. I rolled the sheets to the second-thinnest setting on my pasta machine. Hang or keep separated from each other while preparing the béchamel.
Step 3: Make the béchamel. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to make a roux. In about 6-7 minutes the roux will be slightly golden, smooth and thick. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring the milk almost to a boil. It is important to add hot milk to the roux for the sauce to turn out like it should. Start adding hot milk to the roux (as soon as it turns the nice golden color and thickens), one cup at a time, whisking continuously. It should be very smooth, thick and creamy and able to coat the back of a spoon without dripping. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Make sure to taste as you go, it is amazing how the flavor changes with the right amount of seasoning. Cover with a lid and set aside.
When your Bolognese sauce is done cooking, and you have everything else finished, you are ready to assemble the dish. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row:
Pot of Bolognese sauce.
Pot of warm béchamel.
Pot of wicked-hot salted boiling water.
9×13 pan to bake all this goodness in.
Boil your pasta, 1 sheet at a time, in rapidly boiling water. Only boil about 20-30 seconds, then remove with slotted ladle and drop into the ice bath to stop cooking. Repeat until all the pasta is finished. Remove noodles from ice bath and drain in colander, but be ready to work with pasta right away so it don’t stick to each other.
Start assembling in 9×13 pan by layering Bolognese sauce, a sprinkle of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, pasta sheets, then the béchamel. Repeat as many times as your ingredients allow. I like 5 or 6, it looks gorgeous! Homemade pasta sheets are more bend-y, and they are very thin, so you can kind of scrunch them up giving the dish a fantastic look. The top layer should end with pasta and béchamel, and a sprinkling of the cheeses.
Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven once all edges are browned and the sauce is bubbling. Allow to rest 15 minutes before serving. This lets the lasagne set up nicely and not fall apart when you cut into it. Buon appetito!
This recipe is rather time-consuming and probably ‘moderate’ on the difficulty scale. So set aside plenty of time. This is a traditional regional recipe I learned while studying cooking in Florence, Italy. Gorgeous layers of creamy béchamel sauce, fragrant Bolognese and tender, silly homemade pasta. Of course, a nice ground beef sirloin was used there, but I wanted to give this an Alaskan flair and incorporate the use of locally harvested and organic moose meat. It is melt-in-you-mouth delicious whichever you decide to use. -Patti