The sauce is from Joseph “Joe Dogs” Iannuzzi’s Mafia Cookbook. Even though the recipe for this Lasagna with Béchamel has been tweaked to reduce fat and calories, you would never know from the taste. Enjoy this with a salad and a glass of red wine.
This was a challenge for me. I was determined to make lasagna but I wanted it to have fewer calories but as good flavor as my traditional lasagna with comes in at a whopping 708 calories per 585 grams vs this one which has only 486 calories per 339 grams. Most of those calories are in the fat which totaled 46 grams and this one comes in with only 31 grams of fat.
Lasagna with Béchamel
The other difference between these two lasagnas is this one is missing ricotta. I’m sorry, I just don’t like ricotta. I enjoy the flavor but I can’t abide by the texture. I do all kinds of things to avoid the texture, add spinach, other cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, you name it. Finally, I decided to just get rid of it and use béchamel instead. I am very glad I made that decision because this lasagna was very good. The texture was perfect. I think you will like it, too.
Béchamel is one of the French mother sauces. You might know it as a “white sauce”. It’s simply butter, flour, and liquid, often milk. It uses a roux which is equal parts flour and fat. Often butter is used because it melts nicely and has great flavor. Making it is simple. You need a pan and a whisk. Melt the butter, add the flour and mix it in. Cook it on low, stirring constantly until the mixture turns white, then add the liquid. Keep stirring it until it thickens to your liking, usually until it coats the back of a spoon.
I used chicken sausage that I bought premade. You could also make your own chicken sausage following the directions for homemade pork sausage and substitute chicken or turkey for the pork.
~~ — For the Sauce — ~~
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 28 ounce tomato
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 tablespoon basil, dried
- 1 teaspoon chicken base
- 1 cup Water
~~ — For the Béchamel — ~~
~~ — For the Pasta — ~~
- 9 Lasagna noodles
~~ — For the Filling — ~~
- 12 ounces chicken Italian sausage, broken up
- 6 mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tablespoon Shallots in Oil
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- 16 ounce fresh mozzarella, sliced
- ¼ cup parmesan, shaved
For the sauce:
- Saute garlic in olive oil until garlic dissolves. Add tomatoes, stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes.
For the filling:
- While the sauce is cooking, put the shallots in oil in a small saute pan. Let the shallots become translucent then add the mushrooms. When the mushrooms are done, add the sausage, fennel seed, and chili flakes.
For the béchamel:
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk until the flour turns white, then add the milk and remaining ingredients. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened enough to coat a spoon. Remove the bay leaf and add the cheese. Stir to combine.
- Pour a little of the red sauce into the lasagna pan. Add a layer of noodles. Add half the sausage and mushroom mixture. Add half the mozzarella. Add some sauce. Keep duplicating the layers until you have nothing left, with cheese the last layer. Pour sauce over all and top with the remaining shaved parmesan.
- Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until it is all bubbling. Let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes for it to settle.