Hector Amezcua / Bee file, 2010

Biba serves her lasagne verdi alla Bolognese only on Thursdays and Fridays, but you can try it yourself at home.

The Mailbox: Teri Watson

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6D

Green lasagna Bologna-style

Prep time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Cook time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

Serves 8

Traci Balluff of Sacramento was hoping someone had the recipe for the lasagna served at Biba restaurant in Sacramento.

Sally Stanley of Auburn found this recipe in "Northern Italian Cooking" by Biba Caggiano. This might be the recipe used at Biba. The recipe comprises three separate recipes from the cookbook: Bolognese meat sauce, basic white sauce and basic spinach pasta dough.

Note: The recipe for the meat sauce makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups, so you will need to double it when making this lasagna, which calls for 4 to 4 1/2 cups. Freeze any leftover sauce.


Bolognese meat sauce (see note above):

1/4 cup butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1/4 pound pancetta, finely chopped

1 1/2 pounds ground veal

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 cup dry white wine

One 28-ounce can crushed Italian-style tomatoes

1/2 cup milk

Basic white sauce:

5 cups milk

10 tablespoons butter

10 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Salt to taste

Basic spinach pasta dough:

1/2 of a 10-ounce package frozen spinach

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 eggs

To finish:

2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons butter


Prepare Bolognese meat sauce: Melt butter with oil in a large saucepan. When butter foams, add onion, carrot, celery and pancetta. Sauté over medium heat until lightly browned. Add veal. Cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat and stir in wine. Cook until wine has evaporated. Press tomatoes through a food mill or sieve to remove seeds. Stir tomato pulp into veal mixture, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until sauce reaches a medium-thick consistency. Stir occasionally during cooking. Add milk and cook 5 minutes longer.

Prepare basic white sauce: Bring milk almost to a boil; set aside. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. When butter foams, stir in flour. Let mixture bubble gently over low heat 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not let mixture brown. Whisk in milk all at once. Whisk until smooth. Season with salt.

Simmer 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until sauce has a medium-thick consistency. Reduce or increase cooking time for a thinner or thicker sauce. If not using immediately, rub surface of sauce with 1/2 tablespoon softened butter to prevent a skin from forming.

Prepare basic spinach pasta dough: Cook spinach according to package instructions. Drain thoroughly. Squeeze spinach to remove as much moisture as possible. Chop spinach very fine. Put flour on a pastry board and make a well in the center. Break eggs into well; beat with a fork. Add chopped spinach and beat to combine.

Draw some flour from the inner rim of well over eggs, beating constantly. Keep adding flour, a little at a time, until you have a soft dough. Put dough aside. With a pastry scraper, remove bits and pieces of dough attached to board.

Lightly flour board and your hands. Knead dough 10 to 12 minutes, adding flour a little at a time, until dough is smooth and pliable. Insert a finger into center of dough. If it comes out almost dry, dough is ready for pasta machine. If dough is sticky, knead it a little longer, adding more flour. Set rollers of pasta machine at their widest opening.

Cut an egg-size piece from dough. Wrap remaining dough in a cloth towel to prevent it from drying. Flatten small piece of dough, dust with flour and fold in half. Run it through pasta machine. Repeat this step 5 to 8 times or until dough is smooth and not sticky. Change notch of pasta machine to the next setting and run dough through once without folding it. Keep changing setting and working pasta sheet through machine until pasta reaches desired thickness. A good thickness for general use is about 1/16 inch. Sprinkle dough with flour between rollings if it is sticky.

Assemble: Cut pasta into lengths to fit a 13-inch-by- 9-inch baking dish. Dry pasta sheets 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Butter baking dish. Fill a very large saucepan two-thirds full with salted water. Bring water to a boil. Add 4 pasta sheets. Bring water back to a boil and cook pasta, uncovered, 10 seconds. With a large slotted spoon, place pasta in a large bowl of cold water. Remove pasta sheets immediately and lay on kitchen towels. Pat dry with another towel. Repeat with remaining pasta sheets.

Cover bottom of buttered baking dish with a layer of dried pasta sheets. Spread some meat sauce over pasta. Follow with a layer of basic white sauce, about 1/2 cup. Sprinkle with about 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat with 5 more layers, ending with Parmesan cheese. Dot with butter. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until top is golden. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 963 cal.; 46 g pro.; 63 g carb.; 57 g fat (31 sat., 17 monounsat., 4 polyunsat., 5 other); 261 mg chol.; 1,283 mg sod.; 3 g fiber; 54 percent calories from fat.

Wants to try beer bread

A few years ago, everyone had a recipe for beer bread. I now have been unable to find one and I would like to try making it. Can someone help?

– Dorothy Hurd, Sacramento

Sacher torte, please

Three to five years ago, Raley's and Bel Air markets sold a Sacher torte that was absolutely delicious and wowed guests and family. Unfortunately, they no longer offer the cake and I have been unsuccessful finding the recipe. Any help obtaining this recipe would be greatly appreciated.

– Shan Dixon, Roseville


If you have recipes in reply to Mailbox reader requests, or questions or comments, write to: Mailbox, c/o Taste, The Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. You also can email twatson@sacbee.com or fax (916) 556-5625. Please include your full name, your city and phone number.

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