On 30 November 2011, I started this blog with my first post. 161 days later, this is my 100th post. So not quite a post each day, but more than 4 per week is not bad. In my first post I wrote I would “strive to share every single interesting experience with respect to food and wine”, and I think I’ve done pretty much that.
When I started blogging, I thought it would be most about sharing my recipes and experiences with others. Later I discovered that a lot of the fun comes out of interaction with other bloggers. It’s not only great fun to almost instantly receive “likes” when I post something new, but also to be inspired by others to try new things.
At first I wasn’t sure if my blog would get an audience outside of my existing friends, but by now my blog has been viewed over 5000 times, I have over 50 followers and new followers sign up regularly. The number of people reading my blog as well as their reactions and what I read on other blogs, have inspired me to try new things more ofthen than I already did. So my passion for food and cooking has been enhanced and a new passion for blogging (both reading and writing) has been born. So I’d like to thank all of my readers as well as my fellow foodie bloggers for making this such a great experience! Special thanks to Come Due Maiali, Conor, Claudia and K. from $35 a week. You’ve made this all the more fun!
A festive recipe today to celebrate my 100th post: lasagne alla bolognese. I actually made this for a festive occasion: as birthday gift for my father’s birthday last Sunday. My gift to him also included this cake, enriched for the occasion with a glass of amaretto liqueur, some chopped dark chocolate and an additional sliced pear on top. Both the cake and the lasagne were very well appreciated by my father and the other guests at his birthday dinner.
Lasagne alla bolognese from scratch is quite a bit of work to make, but it’s absolutely delicious. If you made the ragù before and just take it out of the freezer, it is less work at once.
For a large lasagna dish, serves 6-8 (you could also make half)
6 cups ragù alla bolognese
green pasta dough from 3 eggs, 300 grams (2/3 pound) fresh spinach and about 400 grams (3 cups) semolina flour
3 Tbsp butter
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
For the béchamel
1 litre (4 cups) milk
100 grams (3/4 cup) flour
100 grams (7 Tbsp) butter
First make the pasta dough. Make the béchamel while the pasta dough is resting in the refrigerator.
Let the butter melt over medium heat.
Add sieved flour off the heat (otherwise the flour will burn easily).
Back on the heat, mix butter and flour to obtain a roux.
Let it cook for a few minutes, stirring, but do not let it turn dark.
Heat up the milk until there are bubbles at the edge (I do this in the microwave, but you can also do it on the stove). Do not let the milk boil.
Add all the warm milk at once and whisk well to prevent lumps from forming. Continue to stir and cook over medium heat until you obtain a nice thickness (not too thick, not too thin).
Cover with plastic wrap, pressed tightly onto the surface of the béchamel, to prevent a skin on the sauce.
Roll out the pasta dough.
Cut the pasta dough into sheets that fit into your lasagna dish (taking into account that they will become larger when you cook them) and cook them for 20 seconds or so in salted boiling water, 2 or 3 at a time.
Take them out with a slotted spoon and cool in ample cold water.
Put the cooked lasagna sheets on kitchen towels to dry. Pat the top dry with another kitchen towel or kitchen paper. Repeat with the other sheets. You need quite a bit of space to fit all the sheets!
Since my stove is not next to my sink, I put the sheet in a colander first (with a deep plate underneath to catch the water) and then carry it to the sink filled with cold water.
Mix the ragù alla bolognese with 2/3 of the béchamel sauce.
Preheat the oven to 200C/390F.
You are now ready to assemble the lasagna. Butter a large lasagna dish. Cover the bottom with pasta sheets. Use a knife or scissors to cut them to size if needed.
Cover with a thin layer of ragù.
Sprinkle generously with parmigiano reggiano. Repeat with pasta sheets, ragù and parmigiano until you have used all the ragù.
Cover the final layer of ragù with a final layer of lasagna sheets. Cover with the remaining béchamel.
Cover with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano and dot with bits of butter.
Bake the lasagna in the oven at 200C/390F until the top is golden, about 30-45 minutes. As you can see the oven at my parents’ house does not bake evenly, so I should have turned it halfway. It tasted great, anyway!