Sunday lunch in Italy often involves recipes requiring long slow cooking and are long slowly consumed meals as well. Life seems to shut down on Sunday and Italians relax and enjoy. Until recently, there was nothing you could do on Sunday except eat! Shops were closed and everyone had the day off except restaurants.
Excursions to the countryside searching for that elusive fabulous out-of-the-way trattoria with great food and low prices, "dove si mangia bene e spende poco", with long walks after lunch to walk it off. The other scenario would be to go to mamma's. Fresh pasta would probably always be on the menu, often a fabulous lasagna, created with her slow cooked sugo and bechamel sauce, the traditional way here in Tuscany and also in Emilia Romagna as well as other regions.
Yesterday's slow cooked ragu became today's lasagna.
I simply preheated my oven and while waiting made a bechamel sauce (white sauce) and then layered fresh pasta sheets which I bought with the meat sauce, bechamel and grated parmesan cheese.
I made the lasagna with 4 layers of pasta.
Using the fresh pasta sheets, uncooked, the lasagna only takes 20 minutes to cook.
I leave it in until the top is dark brown and crunchy from the melted parmesan and turn off the oven and let the lasagna sit before serving.
It is even better to cook the day before and then reheat.
Letting the lasagna sit before slicing, makes nicer portions and the lasagna won't slide apart when serving.
We ate two large pieces, the rest goes in the freezer for when I am gone travelling and teaching, my husband can have a wonderful meal.