Sunday lunch, an happy grandma, the sunshine, the whole family reunited, what other details can better pool together all these aspects rather than a sensational plate of freshly baked lasagna? If I could pick my absolute favorite dish on earth, a plate of lasagna would be the concrete representation of happiness. It might be the layers, the bechamel, or maybe it’s simply the name “lasagna” itself. This fantastic combination of ingredients is a genuine and unforgettable pleasure for your mouth and soul. If you know someone on planet earth that doesn’t like lasagna, please let me know as I will personally have a talk with that individual!
After living abroad for a couple of years, I would say that being invited to “the most authentic Italian restaurant” is almost a cliché. The truth is that most of the time, the most authentic part of the restaurant is the Italian flag on the restaurant’s front door! Let me tell you the saddest stories of all. The worst lasagna I had was in Austria. After a long day of skiing, I was so starving that anything would have tasted better than fresh snow. While resting on top of the mountain, I ordered a lasagna that had two slices of fresh tomatoes on top with some rosmarine. How terrible can that be. I have to admit that these kind of sad stories are ultimately the best ones to remember. Sometimes it’s a pride to be Italian and be aware that you can always recognize a disaster in the kitchen when it comes to tasting lasagna. Sometimes you genuinely feel lucky to have been born in the place where one of the most stereotyped dish in history comes from. That place is where your grandma lives, where those flavors and smells remain vivid in your memory and heart. It’s where you have spent more than twenty years of your life. It’s where you soul, your roots are.
Be proud of you are, take credits for what is authentic, and feel free to get creative, in life, as well as in the kitchen. But please, don’t put fresh slices of tomatoes on any dish of lasagna!
For the lasagna and the filling:
For the bechamel:
1. First of all, wash the spinach leaves under cold water and cook them with a bit of oil and salt in a pan.
2. Once the spinach leaves are cooked, put them on the side in a bowl and start to prepare the sausage. If you haven’t already, cut the sausage in small pieces and drizzle some oil in a pan. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the wine and finish to cook on low heat for other 10 minutes.
3. Now that the sausage and the spinach are ready and put on the side, prepare the bechamel. Firstly, melt the butter in a pot on low heat. Then add the flour, increasing the heat. Whip everything quickly to avoid to create lumps of flour. Lastly, pour the milk and mix again. Once the bechamel is creamy and smooth, grate the nutmeg and add salt. Mix and let it cool down.
4. Now that all the ingredients are cooked and ready, it’s time to assemble them and make your lasagna come alive.
5. I used an aluminum container, but you can also use a regular casserole dish. Firstly, add the bechamel at the button, then a sheet of past dough, bechamel again, and lastly the filling (spinach, sausage and scamorza). Repeat the procedure until you fill up the container. The last layer should have all the spinach, sausage and scamorza. Of course, don’t forget to grate lots of Parmesan cheese on top - that will melt heavenly in the oven.
6. Now that the lasagna is ready, bake it at 200 °C for 30 minutes. Switch to grill mode in the last 5 minutes and…enjoy!
Prepare this lasagna with fresh spinach and purchase a spicy kind of sausage, if you are a big fan of spices. You should accompany this dish with a great glass of red wine!