recipe 25lb Lasagna Bolognese

Hi peeps,
long time since I posted a meal.
We're on a budget saving for a family vacation come Spring.
Two weeks trout fishing in Pennsylvania... Yes!

Decided we needed some Italian so I'm making an homemade lasagna today.
It's been far too long since I splurged and did it righteously, fixing that today, yes'siree.
The key to a great lasagna is a good Ragú, either Bolognese or Napoletana and that's where I'll be starting, with the more traditional Bolognese.

Mine won't be 100% authentic, my gaming buddies in Italy will scoff, but it'll be a danged good bastardization.
So grab a beverage, a comfortable chair and  follow along as it takes me half the day to prepare everything in stages.

Ragú alla Bolognese

2lb ground Italian sausage
3lb ground beef
1/2lb pancetta or bacon
4 stalks celery, minced
4 small carrots, minced
2 medium red onions, minced
1 bell pepper, minced
2c white wine
2c heavy cream
6c chicken stock
1-1/2c tomato paste
2 -  8oz cans tomato sauce
Salt to taste
2 large bay leaves
1/2t nutmeg

Brown the ground meats, drain well and set aside.
Fry the pancetta or bacon until it crusts up and releases it's fats.
Add the minced veggies to it and saute over med heat creating a thick soffritto.

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Add the ground meat back, add the wine and reduce till dry.
Break the meat down to a fine consistency during this process.
Once the wine is dry add in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, bay leaves, nutmeg and cook for about 10 minutes, while stirring well to mix into the meat.

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Add the chicken stock and cream/milk.
Cook over very low heat, simmer should just be barely be bubbling, stir occasionally, cook 2-3 hours till super tender.
I skimmed off approx 6c of liquid off the sauce to use on the bottom and top of the lasagna.

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Cheese, never met a Lasagna without it, no exception made here.
I'll be using a mix of Ricotta and Parmesan with chopped Basil for layers, and topping it with Parmesan and sliced Mozzarella.

Ricotta Blend

5x 32oz (2lb) tubs of Ricotta
10 eggs
5c shredded Parmesan cheese, you can use your favorite Parmesan, Romano or Mozzarella
2c finely chopped basil
2t granulated garlic
Black pepper to taste

That's a 13 qt mixing bowl, so it's about 7-8 qts of Ricotta filling!

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I'm gonna cut a corner a forego making fresh pasta noodles.
But I will at least prep some dried pasta
To avoid an overly wet lasagna I soak the noodles in hot water from the tap till pliable and drain well.
Then I layer them on parchment paper and spray lightly with EVOO to keep from sticking.

Okeydokey, here we go.
A couple cups of the ragú sauce in the bottom of the pan, then noodles topped with a generous layer of Ricotta and
again with the pasta noodles.

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Another generous layer, the Bolognese this time, more noodles.
And that's the way it goes, layer on layer, three layers of Ricotta cheese and two layers of Bolognese.
The Bolognese is easy to ladle in and spread, but the Ricotta goes into a 2.5gal Ziploc and gets piped in and then spread even with a spatula.
Next time I want to do three layers of Bolognese and two of Ricotta, which means increasing that recipe, yikes!

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Once we're done we top with another couple cups of sauce, a generous amount of Parmesan and Mozzarella for maximum gooey goodness.

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Tightly cover the pan with foil and into a preheated 400° oven for 2 hours.
Yes, you read that right, 400° for 2 hours, this thing is freaking huge.
Remove the foil and give the cheese some color with the broiler.
Let the lasagna cool a good bit before cutting, makes for a cleaner cut and thus presentation.

This is what, a five (5) layer lasagna?
It's HUGE and HEAVY, and easy 25 pounder!
I used an 'Extra Deep' full size steam table pan and filled it up, and it still almost overflowed during cooking.
This thing could generously feed 40 or more people if served with sides.
My 7 family members will work on this tonight and tomorrow, probably leaving me having to hide leftovers for lunch on Monday.

Money Shot!

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That looks delicious! Great idea piping the ricotta I always soon it in and try my best to spread without making a mess.
 
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