I have about an hour to spare, so I thought I'd fill the requests for the recipe of what Dan calls "Five hour Lasagna." He is less prone to exaggeration than I.
Get ingredients ready: Bolognese Sauce (recipe to follow), lasagna noodles, bechamel (recipe to follow), and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. (Cook lasagna noodles until barely tender, then transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Lay noodles flat on baking sheets lined with kitchen towels, pat dry.)
1) Preheat oven to 425, with rack in top third. Butter a 9x13x2 inch ceramic or glass dish; cover bottom with a layer of noodles. They should fit snugly but not overlap. Trim to fit dish.
2) Spread 1 1/4 cups ragu over noodles.
3) Drop 2/3 cup bechamel in dollops over ragu.
4) Gently spread bechamel with a rubber spatula.
5) Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
6) Repeat these layers 3 times. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1/3 cup bechamel on top; sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Season with freshly ground pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the lasagna is golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting with a serrated knife.
RAGU BOLOGNESE (this is the part that takes forever.)
2 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion (about one large)
3/4 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1 1/4 pounds ground chuck*
10 ounces ground pork*
2 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
2 1/2 cups milk
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups dry white wine*
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 1/2 cups canned diced plum tomatoes, with juice
freshly ground pepper
(* Note: I use 2 lbs. of costco hamburger, and it works just fine. Also, I've tried making this with cooking wine and it turns out way too salty. Either pick up some "two buck chuck" from Trader Joes or find your own substitute. Just don't use cooking wine.)
1) Heat butter and oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom 6 quart pot over medium heat until butter is melted. Add onion, celery, and carrot; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and light brown, 8 to 11 minutes.
2) Add ground chuck and pork to pot; stir, breaking up meat with a fork. Add salt, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked through but not browned, about five minutes more.
3) Gradually add milk; bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Add nutmeg to taste, and gently simmer until milk has completely evaporated, about 20 minutes. (Any remaining liquid will be yellowish and clear.)
4) Add wine; simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Stir in stock; simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Add tomatoes and juice; simmer, stirring occasionally, until fat has risen to the top and sauce is think and meaty, 60 to 70 minutes. Season with pepper. Let sauce cool slightly.
7 Tbl. unsalted butter
6 Tbl. all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk, heated just until steaming
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. course salt
Freshly ground pepper
1) Melt butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes; do not let roux brown.
2) Whisking constantly, add about 2 Tbl. milk to saucepan.
3) Pour half of the remaining hot milk into the saucepan in small increments, whisking the mixture constantly, until a smooth paste forms.
4) Whisk remaining milk into pan; add nutmeg and salt. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, making sure to scrape bottom and sides, until sauce is thick and creamy, about 15 minutes. If any lumps form, stir sauce rapidly with a whisk. Season with pepper, remove from heat. Let sauce stand until lukewarm, about 30 minutes, before assembling lasagna.
Told you it was a doosey.