The Leaner Side of the Classic Italian Comfort
The weather outside is frightful and the smell of lasagna baking in the oven is so delightful! Few things are as comforting as Grandma’s homemade lasagna with rich layers of hearty Bolognese, creamy béchamel sauce and gooey Italian cheeses. My daughters are so fortunate that Grandma always has a pan of homemade lasagna waiting in the freezer. It’s one of those wonderful make-ahead, freezable dishes that every mom should have in their arsenal. My favorite thing about my mom’s lasagna is that it’s made with lean ground beef instead of the fatty sausage that is often found in American-style Lasagna. Although she makes her béchamel from scratch, as a shortcut, I use decadent Ricotta cheese, part skim. This is the quintessential winter dish that will warm your heart and soul, not to mention that it’s the perfect dish to feed a crowd. In addition to being able to freeze a pan of lasagna before baking, you can also make the Bolognese meat sauce in advance and freeze it if necessary. For a super quick dinner, the hearty meat sauce is also wonderful tossed with your favorite pasta.
Suggested Wine Pairings
There are so many bright Italian wines that pair beautifully with red sauce based pasta dishes like Lasagna. If you prefer lighter reds, a Barbera d’Asti is always a great choice with tangy tomatoes. A Chianti Classic with its acidity and mild tannins will cut right through that rich Lasagna leaving the palate refreshed and wanting more. Finally, if you’re like me and you like rich, bold wines, try a peppery Primitivo or a plummy Amarone. If you’re a white wine lover, look for one of Italy’s most noble white grapes, Vernaccia. This full-bodied, crisp wine from San Gimignano can stand up to a rich dish like Lasagna.