Jim Franco
YieldsMakes 6 to 8 servingsTotal Time3 hrs
Layers of ragù and creamy, nutmeg-scented béchamel are a subtle departure from the familiar cheese-laden lasagna favored by many Americans; our version is actually closer to authentic Italian lasagna. However, we streamlined the ragù by using sweet Italian sausage instead of the traditional beef, pork, and/or veal blend. Prep and Cook Time: 3 hours. Notes: Imported, commercially produced dried lasagna noodles (the kind you boil first) work well in this recipe, but if you can find fresh noodles at a specialty shop, try those instead. Just boil the noodles a few at a time for 2 minutes, plunge in an ice bath, and dry before assembling.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 2 tbsp. butter in oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook 5 more minutes. Add sausage and 1/2 tsp. salt, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, and cook until meat loses its raw color.

Step 2
2

Add 1 cup milk and cook over medium heat, stirring, until completely absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. (The milk will appear quite curdled at this point; don't be alarmed.) Add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, lower heat, and gently simmer, uncovered, 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3
3

After the ragù has cooked for 1 1/2 hours, make the béchamel by melting remaining 5 tbsp. butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it turns light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Slowly drizzle in remaining 3 cups milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, whisking, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with remaining 1 tsp. salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste.

Step 4
4

Preheat oven to 375°. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, being careful not to overcook. Drain and lay flat on dish towels, making sure the noodles do not overlap. Butter the bottom of a 9- by 13-in. baking dish and coat with about 1/2 cup of ragù. Add a single layer of noodles (for most brands this is 4 sheets per layer). Spread on 1/3 of the béchamel; top béchamel with 1/4 of the remaining ragù, then 1/4 of the parmesan. Repeat layering two more times, covering final layer with remaining ragù and parmesan.

Step 5
5

Cover lasagna with buttered aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the top browns slightly. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

Step 6
6

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Ingredients

  About 7 tbsp. butter
 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
 1/2 cup onion, cut into 1/4-in. dice
 1/2 cup carrots, cut into 1/4-in. dice
 1/2 cup celery, cut into 1/4-in. dice
 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage (or 1 lb. sausage links removed from their casings)
  About 1 1/2 tsp. salt
 4 cups whole milk
 1/2 cup dry white wine
 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes, including juices, finely chopped or crushed with your hands
  Freshly ground black pepper
 1/4 cup flour
 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
 12 ounces lasagna noodles (see Notes)
 1 cup good-quality grated parmesan

Directions

Step 1
1

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt 2 tbsp. butter in oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and celery and cook 5 more minutes. Add sausage and 1/2 tsp. salt, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, and cook until meat loses its raw color.

Step 2
2

Add 1 cup milk and cook over medium heat, stirring, until completely absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. (The milk will appear quite curdled at this point; don't be alarmed.) Add wine and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil, lower heat, and gently simmer, uncovered, 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3
3

After the ragù has cooked for 1 1/2 hours, make the béchamel by melting remaining 5 tbsp. butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it turns light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Slowly drizzle in remaining 3 cups milk, whisking constantly. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, whisking, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with remaining 1 tsp. salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste.

Step 4
4

Preheat oven to 375°. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, being careful not to overcook. Drain and lay flat on dish towels, making sure the noodles do not overlap. Butter the bottom of a 9- by 13-in. baking dish and coat with about 1/2 cup of ragù. Add a single layer of noodles (for most brands this is 4 sheets per layer). Spread on 1/3 of the béchamel; top béchamel with 1/4 of the remaining ragù, then 1/4 of the parmesan. Repeat layering two more times, covering final layer with remaining ragù and parmesan.

Step 5
5

Cover lasagna with buttered aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the top browns slightly. Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

Step 6
6

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Lasagna with Sausage Ragù

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