Lasagna Bolognese, Garlicky Spinach & Clementine Cake

SUNDAY

Lasagna Bolognese  | Garlicky Spinach |  Clementine Cake

EME

Speaking of patience ~ WARNING…This evening’s post is a long one.  So go get a cup of tea & relax.   I will wait for you…{I have to write this post, right now, so I am brewing myself a fresh pot ~ chamomile & mint is my preference}…

By the way, the image above is from a favorite blog of mine…Obvious State…this couple, the Robertson’s, are US expatriates living in Paris {sigh…} & this quote above has become my new mantra.  You see I have none…patience, I mean…that “p” word has dwindled over the years & I am trying to recultivate the crop.  I expect a lot of breathing exercises in the near future… 

I was out yesterday, all afternoon, with friends in San Francisco…a picnic lunch, a new baby, a documentary viewing & abundant sunshine {THANK YOU Beverly & Cassie!}…and I came home & enjoyed a wonderful dinner out with my own family.  So, today was a “home” day. I may have gone overboard.

The girls headed out to the barn early {the horses did not receive the memo regarding the time change}, taking the dogs with them.  Michael and I were up with the early crew, enjoying a quiet cup of coffee on the deck after their departure…Max would not rise for another hour…a growing boy needs his sleep.  I came in to the kitchen to prepare the Ragu Bolognese for this evening’s lasagne…Michael went off to hunt the rest of our weekly provisions {a.k.a. go to the market}.

Ragu Bolognese {adapted from Canal House Cooks Everyday}

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled & finely diced
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 2 chicken livers, finely chopped
  • ¾ pound ground chuck
  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • ½ whole nutmeg, finely grated
  • Salt & Pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup HOT whole milk
  • 1 {28-ounce} can tomato purée
  • 1 cup beef stock

Heat the butter & oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat…

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Add the onions & cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, just until soft and translucent, 3-5 minutes…

Onion Collage

Add the celery & carrots and cook until they begin to soften, about 4 minutes…

Carrots & Celery Collage

Add the prosciutto & chicken livers and cook until the livers are pale pink, about 1 minute.

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Add the ground chuck & ground pork…

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Season with nutmeg, salt & pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon until a little pink coloring remains, about 5 minutes…

Nutmeg Collage

Add the wine to the pot & cook until evaporated.  Add the milk & cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, Heat the tomato purée and stock in a saucepan until hot, then add it to the meat.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, 4-5 hours.  Add water, if needed, to keep the ragu loose and saucy.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Next, start the Balsamella…

Balsamella {White} Sauce {adapted from Canal House Cooks Everyday}

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 4 cups HOT whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ whole nutmeg, finely grated
  • Salt to taste

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Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat.   Add the flour & cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent it from taking on any color.  Gradually add the HOT milk in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk to prevent lumps.

Increase the heat to medium and cook the sauce, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it has the consistency of thick cream, 10-15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the cheese and season with nutmeg and salt to taste.  Strain the sauce if it is lumpy.  Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the balsamella to keep it warm until ready to use & to prevent a skin from forming…

Balsamella Collage

At this point, Michael arrived home with our groceries.  We unloaded & put the provisions away.  It was such a beautiful day outside…take a look at the “traffic” outside our windows…

IMG_8577Instead of making our own fresh pasta, we opted for fresh, organic sheet pasta made by Marin Pasta Works so we could hike the Island this afternoon.  Speaking of traffic…take a look at the traffic jam on our stovetop, before we left…

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I hadn’t even started the pasta or the Clementine Cake!

After a lovely hike and, with the Ragu Bolognese, the Balsamella & the Pasta taken care of, I started the Clementine Cake.  I like to bake something on Sundays that will provide a snack for the children for the week to come…to accompany lunches, for after-school-snacks, and in-between-activities snacks.  While we do enjoy chocolate every now and then, I try to avoid chocolate on a regular basis, especially sticky, gooey treats smothered in a sugar-coated topping, opting for a fruit, which is in-season, dolled up into a cake, muffin or tart.  This Clementine Cake from the Smitten Kitchen fit the bill today & take a look at what was waiting for me on my countertops today {more than a few clementines & Meyer lemons}…

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Clementine Cake {adapted from the Smitten Kitchen}

  • 4 to 5 clementines {I used a mix of Clementines & Meyer lemons}
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups ground almonds
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  1. Put the clementines & Meyer lemons in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to the boil, and cook for 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, cut each clementine & lemon in half, removing the seeds. Then place the fruit into a food processor & finely chop.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  3. Butter and line an 8-inch (21 centimeter) springform pan with parchment paper.  All I had was an 8-inch tart pan so that is what I used and it worked fine {I actually have a 10-inch springform pan but I thought that would result in a pancake rather than a cake so I put that idea to rest pretty quickly}.  By-the-way…I used shortening instead of butter at this stage of the game & the shortening worked beautifully.
  4. Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almonds, and baking powder. Mix well, adding the chopped clementines & lemons.
  5. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer will come out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, in the pan on a rack. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan and dust it with powdered sugar.

Clementine Cake Collage

Now back to dinner…

Lasagna Bolognese {adapted from Canal House Cooks Everyday}

  • 2 {10-ounce} packages of FRESH sheet pasta
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups warm Ragu Bolognese {see above}
  • 2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 6 cups warm Balsamella {see above}
  1. Cook the pasta, 3 sheets at a time, in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 1 minute.
  2. Transfer the pasta to a bowl of ice water to flash cool.  Lay the sheets of cooked pasta out on clean, damp kitchen towels in a single layer, without touching.  Cover with more damp paper towels.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F.  Grease a deep 9×13-inch baking dish with butter. Cover the bottom with a layer of three pasta rectangles.  Spread evenly with 1 cup of the Ragu, then sprinkle with some of the Parmigiano.  Add another layer of pasta {3 pasta rectangles}, covering with a layer of Balsamella sauce, then sprinkling with more Parmigiano.  Repeat layers again & again.  Add the final layer of pasta, cover it with the remaining Ragu, then with the remaining Balsamella, and sprinkle the last bit of Parmigiano on top.
  4. Bake the lasagna until it is bubbling around the edged and browned on top, about 15 minutes.  Let lasagna rest for 10 minutes before serving…

Lasagne Bolognese Collage

Now, all that was left…the Garlicky Spinach

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And the finished dinner plate…

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The Lasagne, our first without Ricotta, was the BEST we have ever had…smooth & velvety.  The Garlicky Spinach was so much more savory than a “regular salad” and the left-over spinach will be perfect with eggs in the morning!

Have a Wonderful Week!

K Initial

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Lasagna Bolognese, Garlicky Spinach & Clementine Cake

  1. I have to try the Clementine Cake. It’s so hard to find a good, gluten free dessert, and I’m one of those people who doesn’t go for chocolate that much. I prefer lemon and other fruit recipes. I’ve put this one in my Ziplist. Thanks!

    • Beverly…I was a bit skeptical at first, after all, a cake with no butter or flour! But the finished cake turned out wonderfully moist with a great citrus flavor & the almonds added a bit of crunch. I hope you enjoy!

  2. Just made the clementine cake. I used almond flour (ground almonds from Trader’s, which is my “new” ingredient, besides coconut oil, but I digress…). Perfect for today!

    The lasagne you present is very Italian (not American, like the versions in restaurants); sauce is close to Marcella Hazan, and my Noni’s.

    Fun menu.

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