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João's Lasagna

From Cru 32 Designer, João Domingues. Makes 10-12 servings

OVEN TEMPERATURE

400°F

cook time

2 hours

ingredients

MEAT SAUCE:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 dried bay leaves
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 mild chili pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 link chorizo, save 10 thin slices, then mince the rest
1 lb ground veal or beef
1 lb ground pork
1 large zucchini, peeled and finely chopped
1/3 cup beer or white wine
14oz can tomato sauce

Salt to taste

BECHAMEL:
28g (2 TBSP) salted butter
15g (2 TBSP) all-purpose flour
300ml (1 1/4 cups) whole milk
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and ground white pepper to taste

COOKING CREAM:
1 15.5oz tub Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 cup whole milk

FOR LASAGNA ASSEMBLY:
2 tsps dried oregano
Fresh basil leaves
2 x 9oz packages dry lasagna sheets
14oz grated mild cheese, like a baby Swiss or Emmental
48oz grated mozzarella (the more, the better)
More oil for drizzling between layers

9”x13” ceramic or cast iron baking pan

Foil

directions

FOR THE SAUCE:

Heat olive oil in a large non-reactive saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for about a minute. Add bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, cumin, black pepper, and mild chili pepper. Sauté for 15 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Stir frequently and make sure the onion does not stick to the pan.

Add the chorizo and stir for 3 minutes. Add the ground veal or beef and pork to the pan and stir. Add the zucchini and mix. Let cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.

Raise heat to medium high and add the beer or wine. Let it come to a boil to evaporate the alcohol, while stirring. This should take about 2 minutes or less. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

FOR THE BECHAMEL:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and whisk together until incorporated. Whisk constantly and cook, without letting it brown, essentially forming a roux. Slowly drizzle in the milk while whisking the roux. Bring to a boil and season with salt, ground white pepper, and nutmeg. Let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Store in a clean bowl and lay a piece of saran wrap right on the surface of the béchamel to avoid a skin forming.

FOR THE COOKING CREAM:

Mix the cream cheese and milk together until fully incorporated.

Light your Cru 32 oven.

Adjust sauce seasonings with salt to suit your taste.

BUILDING THE LASAGNA:

Drizzle oil into the bottom of your 9”x13” ceramic or cast iron baking pan. Spread a quarter of the meat and sauce mixture. Spread a quarter of the béchamel onto the meat, then a quarter of the cooking cream. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp dried oregano on top, then spread torn fresh basil leaves on top. Sprinkle with a quarter of the grated mild cheese, then a quarter of the grated mozzarella. Drizzle olive oil on top of the cheese. Place a layer of the dry lasagna sheets over everything. Press lightly with a spatula to compress the layer.

Repeat 3 more times, making sure there’s enough space at the top of your baking pan for the cheese to bubble up without spilling out. The last layer should be cheese and not pasta.

For the top, drizzle olive oil on top of the cheese and sprinkle with a little dried oregano.

Place the reserved thinly sliced chorizo on top.

Cover with aluminum foil and cook in the Cru 32 at 400°F for approximately 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, remove foil and cook a further 5 minutes to brown the top.

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