The ragu' in this recipe is not your standard bolognese sauce. It's a white sauce (no tomatoes) made with delicious, dark duck meat, braised in white wine, and shredded in pieces, not grounded. This gives a distinctive and exquisite taste to the lasagna, and it perfectly combines with the delicate flavor of the cheese and the besciamella sauce.
This is not one of my usual 30 minutes-or-less recipe. But this dish is worth every minute of your time! Trust me :-)
Just turn on some music and make it fun! I'm listening to The Neighbourhood. I absolutely LOVE their Sweater Weather song! If you like, check out their video here.
LA friends: do you recognize any of those places in this video? How about the bridge over PCH and my beach? :-)
Ingredients: oven pan measuring 8 x 11 in. Serving about 6 people
- two duck breasts, about 1.25 lb Printable Recipe
- 2 garlic cloves
- one rosemary sprig
- 5 or so fresh sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- one cup of white wine
- 10 oz of fontina or other mild cheese like mozzarella or Swiss cheese, shredded or cut in small pieces
- 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 box of oven-ready lasagna pasta - you won't use it all! I like the Barilla
- salt and pepper
- 2.5 cups of whole milk
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
- half cup of all-purpose flour
- about 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
Step 1: In a large enough pan with two tablespoons of olive oil, over medium heat saute' the rosemary, the sage and the garlic cloves crushed (by pressing down with the flat blade of a large knife).
Step 2: Add the duck breast with skin and the white wine. We will remove the skin only at the end, this way it keeps the meat nice and tender while cooking! The wine should about cover the meat, unless the pot is too large, in which case you can add a bit of water (maybe half a cup!). Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and let simmer over medium-low heat until ready, about 45-60 minutes based on the size of the duck breasts. Remember to check and turn the meat every 15 minutes or so. Add water if it gets too dry... but it shouldn't!
Step 3: Prepare the besciamella sauce as described here.
Step 4: Remove the skin from the duck breast, and shred the meat by cutting and pulling the meat apart with a fork, helping yourself with a knife if necessary. Place the meat back in the same pan with its sauce (after removing the garlic and some of the rosemary and sage if you like).
Step 5: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Now we are ready to start with the lasagna. In an oven pan, start with a couple of tablespoons of besciamella for the bottom, add a layer of pasta, topped with a third of the meat, one third of the fontina cheese, one quarter of the besciamella (you will need an extra layer of besciamella for the top!).
Step 6: Repeat the same layers two more times: pasta, meat, cheese and besciamella.
Then on top: only pasta, and last the besciamella and all the Parmesan cheese.
Step 7: Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes covered. Uncover and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
Step 8: Let cool down for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. This will allow the besciamella sauce to set a little, and not run off the plate making the lasagne too soft. You can also prepare the lasagna ahead of time, and only warming it up (really hot!!) before serving. In this case you don't need to wait before cutting and serving.