I use a combination of Asiago or Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in this lasagne. Asiago is similar to Parmigiano because it has a slightly nutty and sweet flavor. The Ragù is enough for two lasagne or enough for another meal or two with pasta. I start out making the Ragù one to three days before I assemble the lasagne. Many times, I freeze the unbaked lasagne to have another evening. Just remember to bring it out to defrost before baking. This style of lasagne is also known as Tuscan Lasagne. You can also substitute Pecorino Romano for the Asiago, or just use all Parmigiano.
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 T extra-light olive oil or avocado oil, divided
5 links Italian sausage, removed from casings
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 (12-oz) can tomato paste
4 T unsalted butter
2 cups whole milk
2 t dried oregano
8 leaves fresh basil, torn or chiffonade
¼ t nutmeg
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic until fairly fine; like a minced soffritto.
In a Dutch oven, add the 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook the soffritto over medium heat for 10 minutes. Spoon mixture into a very large bowl and set aside.
In the same Dutch oven over medium heat, add the rest of the oil and cook the Italian sausage, breaking up with a spoon, until golden.
Add half of the ground beef and brown until crumbly, about 10 minutes.
As the meat cooks, break up any chunks with a wooden spoon into small pieces.
Spoon into the large bowl with the soffritto.
Repeat with the rest of the beef, then return the browned beef, browned sausages, and vegetables to the pot.
Add the wine, stirring up browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Add the chicken stock, water, and tomato paste; mix in well.
Simmer very gently, partially covered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Add the butter and rest of the ingredients and simmer another 15 minutes.
6 T unsalted butter
6 T all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
1 ½ t sea salt
½ t grated nutmeg
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until foaming; add flour and cook, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Do not brown.
Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil, while whisking constantly. Add salt and nutmeg, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, and
simmer 2 minutes, until it thickens slightly.
Turn off heat and set aside.
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 cup freshly grated Asiago or Pecorino Romano cheese
Mix the above cheese together in a bowl.
1 lb fresh lasagne sheets
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread a layer of ragù in the bottom of a lasagna pan.
Cover with a sheet or two of pasta, a layer of besciamella, a layer of grated mixed Parmigiano and Asiago, and a layer of ragù.
Repeat 3 more times, ending with a layer of besciamella.
Sprinkle the last of the grated cheeses over the top.
Cover loosely with parchment-lined aluminum foil or spray your inside of the foil with oil and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove foil, add a little more cheese, and continue to bake another 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 to 12 minutes before cutting and serving.
Serves 6 to 8