There are few dishes as comforting as a big, bubbling lasagne, its sauce rising and popping as it emerges from the oven; golden at the edges and hot as hell. Then comes the wait, for one must hold off plunging the serving spoon through the cheesy crust, down into the forgiving, soft handkerchiefs of pasta below. The portion should be very obviously too large as it wobbles its way over the plate, and once down, the ragu should ooze gently from the sides; inviting and rich, nuggets of beef tumble from between the layers.
There is a balance to be struck, with lasagne, between the creamy béchamel and intensely savoury ragu. In this version, the base is beefy, with just a little pork to bring salty-sweetness. The béchamel is thick and savoury with that almost-brown-butter flavour and then - boom - the mushrooms. Four different kinds feature here, but if, for example, girolles are not in season, do feel free to mix up the combination. Don’t skip the dried porcini though, as the depth of flavour they bring is something special.
The lasagne may seem like a heavy dish, but serve it with a salad of soft butter lettuce leaves, some slivers of spring onion and a sharp vinaigrette, and you have something summery. Drink with a chilled red, like a light and juicy Barbara d’Asti.
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