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Golden Girls

Sophia’s Lasagna Al Forno

By Khalil Hymore
Sophia only breaks out this 16-hour dish when she really needs a favor. True to form, Sophia made her lasagna al forno because she needed Dorothy and Stan to pretend they’re still married, and because her brother Angelo, a priest, was coming to visit. Angelo revealed his own secret in this hysterical episode, too!

Makes 12 servings

For the meat sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

For the cream sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk, warm
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the lasagna:

  • 1 pound no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 cup Parmesan cheese

1. For the meat sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, black pepper and red pepper and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and pork and cook until browned, pouring off excess fat. Add the wine, tomatoes, broth, bay leaves, and cinnamon, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is very tender and the sauce is thick, 4 to 5 hours.

2. To make the cream sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in the warm milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 6 minutes.

3. To make the lasagna, heat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Butter a 9- by 13-inch baking dish, set aside. Place about 1 cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and layer with 4 lasagna noodles. Place another cup of meat sauce over the noodles, followed by a cup of cream sauce and a third of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining noodles and sauces, ending with the cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot, with a lar