How to make restaurant-quality authentic Italian lasagne at home

Top chef: How to make restaurant-quality authentic Italian lasagne in your own kitchen – but the nine-hour creation MUST be prepared properly

  • A top Italian chef has revealed how to make a deliciously authentic lasagne
  • Stefano Paolillo, head chef of Secolo, Sydney revealed his famous recipe
  • The secret to an incredible lasagne is time, the recipe can take up to nine hours

The secret to making a truly authentic lasagne has been revealed by the head chef of a top Italian restaurant in Sydney.

Stefano Paolillo, the head chef at Secolo, an authentic Italian eatery in the CBD has shared the recipe for one of his most popular dishes, lasagne.

The recipe, which is very detailed but easy to follow, pays homage to the country where Stefano grew up and learned to cook.

The recipe is divided into two parts, the white sauce and the rest and takes about nine hours to prepare.

The secret to making a truly authentic lasagne has been revealed by the head chef of a top Italian restaurant in Sydney

Stefano Paolillo, the head chef at Secolo , an authentic Italian eatery in the CBD has shared the recipe for one of his most popular dishes, lasagne

The béchamel sauce calls for a litre of milk, bay leaves, nut meg and cheddar cheese.

The ragu calls for rosemary, pancetta and minced beef as well as two cans of tomatoes.

To start the chef carefully strips the rosemary and finely chops the pancetta.

He then fries it in a pan with olive oil until the pancetta starts to become crispy.

Each step is important, according to the chef, who grew up in Salerno just a stone’s throw from the famous Amalfi Coast.

The recipe also needs to be given plenty of time, once all of the ingredients for the ragu have been prepared and combined it needs to simmer for between four and six hours.

This will insure depth of flavour imperative to a good Italian lasagne.  

The chefs at Secolo are very serious about the signature dish so give very strict instructions on how to build it correctly

Once the ragu is ready the béchamel sauce can be made and then the lasagne can be put together.

The chefs at Secolo are very serious about the signature dish so give very strict instructions on how to build it correctly.

‘To build your lasagne, spoon a quarter of the ragu into a large deep ovenproof dish and spread it out evenly,’ they said.

‘Spoon over a quarter of the bechamel, then snap over some lasagne sheets, making sure they completely cover the sauce in one layer. Repeat this 3 times, finishing with a layer of bechamel.’ 

The top of the lasagne should then be coated with grated cheese before it goes into the over for 45 minutes.

It must also be cooled for ten minutes before serving, the chef warns. 

How can I make restaurant-quality lasagne at home?

Ingredients

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

100 g chopped pancetta

olive oil

1 kg quality minced beef

2 carrots

1 onions

1 sticks of celery

2 x 400g tinned Muti (crushed tomatoes)

350 g dried lasagne sheets

 Bechamel sauce

150 g Cheddar cheese

2 fresh bay leaves

4 tablespoons plain flour

1 litre full cream milk

100 g butter

1 whole nutmeg , for grating

 

 METHOD 

1 – Strip and finely chop the rosemary leaves and finely chop the pancetta.

2 – Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot on a high heat. Once hot, add the rosemary and pancetta and fry for 2 minutes, or until the pancetta starts to crisp up, stirring regularly.

3 – Add all the minced meat, using a wooden spoon to break it up as you go. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for at least 10 minutes, or until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.

4 – Grate the Cheddar, then tip into a bowl.

5 – Dice the carrots. Dice the celery. Peel and halve the onions, add them to the carrots.

6 – Tip into the pot with the mince. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften, stirring regularly.

7 – Next, add the tinned tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Fill each of the tins with some water and tip into the pan. Give it a good stir and reduce the heat to low. Leave to simmer around 2-4 hours (the longer the better), or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.

8 – For the béchamel: melt the butter in another pot then add the flour and stir well, gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Turn the heat up to medium, bring to the boil, then reduce to low and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring regularly.

9 – Whisk in the pot until smooth and silky. Add half the grated cheese and finely grate over half the nutmeg and mix well. Season to taste.

10 – Once the ragù is ready, preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.

11 – Season the ragù to taste. To build your lasagne, spoon a quarter of the ragù into a large deep ovenproof dish and spread it out evenly.

12 – Spoon over a quarter of the bechamel, then snap over some lasagne sheets, making sure they completely cover the sauce in one layer. Repeat this 3 times, finishing with a layer of bechamel.

13 – Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake the lasagne in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

14 – Remove the lasagne from the oven and leave to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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