I have always found making fresh pasta a bit scary, I don’t really know why. Maybe because I thought it would be complicated. But just like the rest of the recipes on my blog, you will find it is actually incredibly easy!
If you mesure your ingredients correctly, there is nothing that can go wrong. So here is a homemade fresh pasta lasagne al ragú for a weekend dinner. And if you still have some left for the next day, you will see it will be even better!
This is great for 4 people or for leftovers for the next day
Ingredients for the ragú
- 500g mixed ground beef and pork (as always, I advise organic or meat from a local producer)
- 50g pancetta (optional)
- 250g pealed tomatoes
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 chopped carrot
- 1 chopped leek (can be substituted by a celery stick)
- 3 chopped cloves of garlic
- Aromatic herbs of your choice, like, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme
- 1 glass of red wine
INGREDIENTS FOR The bechamelle
- 100g butter
- 100g flour
- 1l milk
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
INGREDIENTS FOR THE fresh pasta
- 4 eggs
- 400g flour
- A lot of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
PREPARING THE RAGÚ
Take a big pot, I always love to use a cast iron pot, but any pot will do.
Heat up some olive oil in the pot and start by browning the pancetta on a medium high heat.
Once the pancetta is ready, add all the chopped veggies and the aromatic herbs. Stir frequently and cook on low heat for 30 min, be careful it doesn’t burn. If it starts getting too dark, just add a splash of water.
Once the veggies are cooked, turn up the heat a bit and add the ground meat, tomatoes and the red wine. It’s best if you add half a cup of water, so it doesn’t dry out. Simmer for 2 hours until the sauce becomes creamy and the meat has a rich flavour.
When cooked, remove it from heat to cool. Remove the aromatic herbs, if they are in big leaves or chunks.
PREPARING THE PASTA
Pasta can have many different recipes. Some use more, some use less eggs. Some only use egg yolks. There are even such famous pastas like in Piemonte, that use 40 yolks for 1kg of flour! So rich and bright yellow.
But for this recipe we will use a simple quantity to remember. Use 1 egg for each 100g of flour. For the lasagne 400g of flour will be enough to make the 8 layers that a more traditional lasagne requires and will be more tasty.
In a bowl or on a kitchen surface create a mountain of flour and make a hole in the middle. Crack the 4 eggs in the middle and whisk with a fork . When the eggs are mixed, start by incorporating flour from the sides, until you incorporate it all and are able to knead the dough by hand.
Kneading is easier on a kitchen surface. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and leave it to rest aside for at least 30 min.
When 30 min have passed, get your pasta machine and some flour ready. If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can always use a rolling pin.
If you roll the pasta out by the pasta machine, first start out by using the widest setting, if not, your dough will break. Fold the pasta on itself after you have rolled it the first time and roll it through once again. Then move on to a thinner setting until you arrive to the thickness you’re looking for. Use just a bit of flour so the dough doesn’t stick.
PREPARING THE BECHAMELLE
This can be tricky at first, but you just have to move quick.
In a pot melt the butter at a medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and stir frequently. Be sure the flour doesn’t get burnt. It should turn into a light brown colour. You will have made roux by this point.
Once the roux is done, carefully pour in the milk and whisk very quickly, because it will thicken very fast at the beginning until you add all of the liquid. Cook it for a few minutes stirring until the bechamelle becomes nice and creamy.
BUILDING THE LASAGNE
Find a good ovenproof dish. Start by pouring either some bechamelle or just a bit of ragú at the bottom of the dish.
Preheat your oven at 180 degrees Celcius.
Lay over one layer of fresh pasta. Layer ragú, bechamelle and some parmigiano cheese and lay over another pasta layer. Repeat this for 8 layers or until you run out of ingredients. The last layer should be the ragú, bechamelle and a good quantity of grated parmigiano.
Cook it in the oven for 30 min, until the top has browned.