Pork Sausage and Chianti Lasagna

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Pinterest and I have a love-hate relationship because sometimes I find myself wasting too much time, but I usually fine something good to make. Like this: Pork and Chianti Bechamel Lasagna. The pictures looked so damn good and the meal came out amazing so I knew I made a good choice. Like always, I tinkered with the recipe and steps a little, but not much had to be done. I absolutely recommend this for a family meal.

My slab of lasagna looks a little bit messier. And it is, mainly because I was so dang hungry while making this I couldn’t let it rest and set. I just had to dive right in.

INGREDIENTS
16 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked “al dente”
2, 8 oz. containers of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
an extra jar of your favorite marinara sauce for topping

Sauce
1 large onion, chopped fine
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping cup fresh basil, torn
2 (28 oz.) cans whole plum tomatoes in juice
1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
1 cup good quality chianti (wine)
3 tsps sea salt
2 tbs balsamic
1 tbs honey
3 tbs dried oregano
2 tsps dried thyme
1/4 cup butter
1 lb pork sausage
1.5 lb. lean ground beef

Bechamel
10 tbs butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup lowfat milk
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

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To begin, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. You need to begin by making the sauce, as it takes about an hour to reduce. Start by heating the 3 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan. Saute the chopped onion in the butter until tender, translucent and slightly golden.

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Add the minced garlic and cook an extra minute. You don’t want the garlic to brown too much. Next, add torn basil and wilt it down.

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When you add the canned plum tomatoes, pour in the tomatoes with the juice for only one large can. Make sure to break them up as you go. Drain the other large can of juice but add the tomatoes. Once those have been broken up, add the petite diced tomatoes.

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Mix everything well before continuing onto the next step.

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The sauce isn’t completed! Next, we have to add the chianti, sea salt, balsamic, honey, mushrooms, oregano, and thyme . Bring this sauce mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for an hour. The sauce should be reduced and thick when it’s done.

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While the sauce is going, we can cook down our meat. This is the simplest step; the meat just needed to be cooked all the way through. We aren’t adding anything to it. Heat the 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet. Add the pork and beef and cook until browned. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.

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The third step is to make the bechamel, which begins with a rue. Place the butter in a medium size saucepan to melt. Add the flour. Whisk until all the butter is incorporated and starts to turn pale gold (about 3-4 mins).

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Slowly add the buttermilk, whisking constantly, until thickened. Add the milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir all together for about 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and set aside.

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I took a photo of my stove at this point in time because it was HILARIOUS! Look at everything go! I am sure you can make the red sauce ahead of time if need be. The thing was totally delicious and worth it though.

Once all the elements are done, it’s just about building. Start by preparing the noodles to “al dente”. Next, get out your baking dish and add olive oil to the bottoms and sides of the dish. Spread a thin layer of the bechamel sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish  and lay down your first set of noodles (about 4).

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Grab one container of your Parmesan cheese. Layer like this: noodles, tomato sauce, meat, Parmesan, bechamel. Repeat a few more times. End with a layer of bechamel on top. Cover the top layer with the remaining bag of Parmesan cheese.

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Place uncovered lasagna in preheated oven and cook 50 minutes. By now the top should be brown and bubbling, with the lasagna completely hot all the way through.

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Remove from oven, and allow to cool 10 minutes before attempting to slice into it (I was not so patient).

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This lasagna is amazing is you eat it the next day. Trust me. Cut into generous portions, top each serving with extra marinara, and heat completely for leftovers.

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4 responses to “Pork Sausage and Chianti Lasagna

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