Lasagna with Sauce Bolognese and Parsnip

by meike peters

Lasagne Bolognese

Rich, with a fruity sauce Bolognese with lots of tomatoes and herbs, parsnip, Parmesan and a bit of chicken liver – that’s my lasagna and I enjoy every hearty bite of it! I take the casserole dish with the steaming lasagna out of my oven and by the time I put it on the table it has already filled our entire apartment with the sweetest, mouth-watering smell of herbs, baked cheese and tomatoes. It’s a real teaser!

It’s only my second time using wavy lasagna pasta and I’m impressed with the result. They are done within just 25 minutes (still al dente), the lasagna keeps its shape on the plate and – most importantly – it gets a crispy crust on top, neither too hard nor too dry. I make my sauce Bolognese with pure minced beef and a bit of chicken liver. You don’t really taste the liver but it makes the beef taste more intense. I add carrots and parsnip as I prefer a balanced mixture of meat and vegetables in a sauce Bolognese in general. I cook the sauce for about an hour with red wine, tomato paste, thyme and rosemary – it is very concentrated and strong. And finally the cheese! Parmesan is the perfect choice as it’s so tasty that you don’t need to use much, which would just make the meal cheesy and heavy.

Lasagne Bolognese

Lasagna with Sauce Bolognese and Parsnip

I use a 27cm x 20cm / 10.5″ x 8″ baking dish, definitely big enough for 4 people.

For the Sauce Bolognese

minced beef 300g / 10.5 ounces
organic chicken liver, chopped, around 100g / 3.5 ounces
carrot, sliced, 1
parsnip, sliced, 2
onion, chopped, 1
tinned tomatoes, chopped, 400g / 14 ounces
red wine around 500ml
(you could also use 250ml red wine and 250ml broth)
tomato paste 2 tablespoons
a sprig of thyme
a sprig of rosemary
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the vegetables for a couple minutes on medium heat. Add the meat (beef and liver) and fry until all the liquid dissolves. Add the tomato paste, mix and fry for a minute. Deglaze with a little red wine, mix, cook for a minute and repeat two more times. Add the tinned tomatoes and the rest of the wine (you might not need all of it at once). Add herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and simmer on low temperature for about an hour. Stir in between and add more wine if the sauce becomes too dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Sauce Béchamel

milk 600ml
butter, melted, 30g / 1 ounce
plain flour 30g / 1 ounce
bay leaf 1
a pinch of nutmeg, grated
salt and pepper

Mix the milk with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whisk the flour into the hot butter. Bring the milk to the boil and whisk into the roux. Continue mixing until smooth. Add the bay leaf and cook for around 5 minutes on low heat until the texture is thick and smooth. Take the bay leaf out and season with salt and pepper.

For the Lasagna

lasagna pasta around 250g / 9 ounces

Parmesan, grated, around 100g / 3.5 ounces

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F.

Butter your baking dish. Put down a layer of pasta, 1/3 of the sauce Bolognese, 1/4 sauce Béchamel and some Parmesan. Repeat twice, cover with a final layer of pasta (you should have 4 layers of pasta) and cover with sauce Béchamel and Parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pasta is done, switch on the grill for 2 minutes or until the pasta becomes golden brown and partially crisp. Take the lasagna out and let it sit for 10 minutes.