The weather is turning cold and rainy, so my instinct to eat hearty foods is increasing. A few weekends ago, I craved a rich and meaty bolognese sauce. Granted, it’s likely because I’ve been overdosing on old episodes of Lidia Bastianich’s TV shows. I grew up watching her on PBS, and I love the ease of her cooking that makes Italian cooking so approachable.
In the past, I’ve used jarred sauce to make a sweet italian sausage lasagna. This time I wanted to spend the time to develop an amazing sauce, so I decided to make a big batch of bolognese sauce using Lidia’s recipe and then freeze it in serving size portions for our small household of two. Her recipe includes two different bolognese versions, the recipe Antica that uses milk and the recipe Tradizionale that uses broth. I made the Tradizionale as I didn’t have milk on hand.
This shot from my cell phone shows the cooking in process, about 2 hours into the simmering:
The sauce isn’t quick to make. You’ll be simmering it for 3 hours, so do it when you have an afternoon to devote to it. Trust me though, the sauce is worth every minute. The recipe makes about 12 cups, which I divided into 6 2-cup portions after the sauce had cooled. It freezes well and can be pulled out of the freezer to dress any shape of pasta or to be layered in a decadent lasagna.
Lately, lasagna that uses a bechamel sauce is my favorite. It’s thicker and richer, so very delicious. I constructed my lasagna using the directions in Simply Recipe’s lasagna bolognese, but I used Lidia’s bolognese sauce from my freezer. I made the lasagna the day before I’d be baking it as I think the flavours develop even more. Assemble your lasagna and cover with foil or plastic wrap, then place in the fridge until time to bake.
I used 2 cups of bolognese sauce, a half pound lasagna noodles and the bechamel sauce from recipe noted above. In a 9×13 baking dish, the lasagna comes about halfway up the dish and makes a thinner lasagna. I like it this way as it maximizes the crusty, cheesy surface area on the top!