Calling all Cooking Channel Addicts.

I admit it. I spend a LOT of time watching cooking shows, a lot. I’m obsessed with them, sometimes I imagine I am sitting in their kitchens having a glass of wine while they tell me about how they came up with the concept for the dish. One of my favorites is Extra Virgin, hosted by Debi Mazar (of LA Law fame) and her husband, an Italian farmer and chef she met while traveling in Italy. They’re a really cute couple and they prepare all the meals in their own quirky little kitchen. I want their kitchen.

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A few weeks ago, The Hubbz and I were watching a marathon of episodes on a Sunday afternoon, when we saw it. They made lasagna. Not just lasagna, though, Lasagne alla Bolognese. What I found out about this delicious dish is that it is less tomatoey, less cheesy, but still super creamy. Similarly to how my Mami taught me to make lasagne, the Bolognese incorporates quite a bit of Béchamel Sauce, which I’m now realizing isn’t a traditional component of a basic meat lasagne.

The Bolognese sauce consists of a slow cooked creamy ragu. In their recipe, Debi and Gabriele used a combination of beef, veal, and pork and they added pancetta to the sofrito. I decided to use lamb instead of veal and Spanish chorizo, instead of the pancetta. Traditionally, the Bolognese calls for Parmesan, in an effort to bring in my Latin roots to the table, I opted for an Argentinian Sardo cheese. Sardo is similar  in flavor to Parmesan, it is made of cow’s milk and has a mellow, yet rich, and lightly salty taste.

The lasagne was intensely flavorful and rich and, yes, creamy.The Hubbz loves to cheese up his meals, and even though there was very little cheese added, his need for cheese was satisfied. The sauce needs to cook for a while, so you’ll do well to start there, maybe even the day before. I actually made it in the space of a couple of hours, maybe 3 altogether.

Lasagne alla Bolognese for the Latina’s Soul

For the sauce:
1/2 cp Spanish chorizo, cubed
5 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb each ground beef, pork, lamb
Salt & black pepper
1/2 tsp each nutmeg and allspice
2-3 cps red wine
3 large cans stewed tomatoes
1 cp whole milk

Saute the chorizo in the oil for a few minutes before adding the onion, carrots, and celery; continue cooking until the onions are translucent. Then add the meats, break it up the large pieces with a wooden spoon; once the meat begins to brown, you can add the garlic, season with salt & pepper, and the spices.

After a couple of minutes, add the wine and cook briskly for a few minutes to allow the alcohol to evaporate completely, make sure to scrape any bits that may be stuck on the bottom of the pan. In the meantime, pulse the tomatoes in a blender or food processor, then add them to the meat. Taste the sauce and season again with salt and pepper as needed. Lower the temperature to medium and cook for about 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Finish the sauce by adding the milk, stir well and set aside, to cool off. While the sauce mellows down, start working on the bechamel.

For the Bechamel sauce:
1/2 cp butter (yep, that’s a whole stick)
1/2 cp flour
4 1/2 cps whole milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
Sea salt and black pepper

Melt the butter over medium heat and briskly stir in the flour, taking care to dissolve any lumps. At this point, you want to slowly toast/cook the flour without burning it. Gradually add the milk to the flour mixture, make sure to whisk it constantly and slowly bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for a few minutes, until it thickens. Season the sauce with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set aside to cool.

Puting it all together:
Bolognese Sauce
Lasagne noodles
Bechamel sauce
3/4 cup grated Sardo cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter the pan well–I used a 9×13 pyrex–and add a very thin layer of meat sauce. Followed by a layer of noodles, then Bechamel, and finally Sardo. Repeat a couple of times. At the top, cover the noodles with meat sauce and some Bechamel, add a few thin slices of butter and finish with some Sardo.

Bake for about 30 minutes.

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Cookingly yours,

Comments ( 10 )

  1. ReplyArlene

    I've just started watching Extra Virgin and I love it. Fortunately, I can get back episodes and have my own marathon. The last episode I watched, they were renewing their vows and made a pesto lasagna for the occasion that I will be trying. I must say, however, that your version sounds ultra-delicious. I don't eat lamb, but I love the idea of the chorizo replacing the pancetta and think I'd like to try it with pork standing in for the lamb and some roasted red peppers and spices flavoring the bechamel. Thanks for a great idea.

    • Replychefyourself

      Do let me know how it turns out, I'm loving the idea of flavoring the bechamel.

  2. ReplyPlatanos, Mangoes and Me!

    I have been watching EV since the beginning and I love them. You really did a knock out laz=sagna here. If you can get the show "bitching kitchen" check it out and tell me what you think.

    • Replychefyourself

      I LOVE Bitchin Kitchen, she and her cast of weirdos crack me up!

  3. ReplyJoan Nova

    My crappy cable company does not offer The Cooking Channel which is probably a good thing...I spend enough time in front of the boob tube. The lasagna looks delicious. I like that you made it your own!

    • Replychefyourself

      I know I watch too much TV and drink too much wine. Two things not likely to change anytime soon.

  4. Replymarcelina theresia

    I'm not a cooking channel addict, but do watch from time to time. That lasagna looks delicious. I'm not a lover of lasagna, but I would try this one. I like how you make changes to the recipies to incorporate the latina in you. That's great. Keep it going. I enjoy reading your blog!!!

    • Replychefyourself

      Thanks, Marcy. So glad to hear you're getting the Cooking Channel down there, I wouldn't want to miss it.

  5. Replylegalmagnolia

    I made this tonight, and it was WONDERFUL! I substituted italian sausage for lamb, and didn't have any nutmeg, so I used garam masala instead, and it turned out to be the best lasagna ever! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Replychefyourself

      D, that's fantastic and it sounds yum with the subs you made.

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