Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lasagna

I don't like making lasagna.


But then there's this, and it seemed like a good idea after all.

It's all that browning of the meat, making of the sauce, chopping of the parsley, layering of the noodles and cheese and such, that kind of drives me batty.

However, I made a huge, deep pan of it, enough for 3 meals for my large family, so I guess I'll not complain and instead, share the recipe.

You can completely cut down the time by using jarred sauce, skip the fresh parsley, take some pre-browned meat from your freezer, etc.  I just happen to like fresh when I can.  I do, however, use the no-boil noodles which saves immense time and mess and slop.

I like a combination of ricotta and cottage cheese.  I also used a Italian 5-cheese blend instead of just mozzarella and parmesan.  Use what you like!  Plain ground beef is fine, sweet Italian sausage is better.  I used a combination of home made Italian venison sausage and then some ground beef with extra fennel seed added.  Lasagna should, in my book, have a lot of fennel seed.

This recipe will make a 9x13x3 inch pan of lasagna.  That's 5 layers deep.  It's a LOT of lasagna.  Feel free to try a half recipe in a smaller, shallower pan.

***Tip - make this earlier in the day, let it sit for at least an hour, and re-heat if necessary.

Lasagna


6 cups Red Sauce (spaghetti sauce)
2 pounds of ground beef, sausage, or combination, browned
1 - 16 ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 - 16 ounce container whole milk cottage cheese
2 large eggs
large handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
coarse ground black pepper
2 pounds grated Italian cheeses
25 no-boil, traditional "ribbony" lasagna noodles

In a sauce pan on the stove, combine the Red Sauce and meat, simmer for a few minutes, and correct the seasoning if needed.  Otherwise, just combine the meat and sauce in a bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta and cottage cheeses with the 2 eggs, chopped parsley, and a very generous grinding of black pepper.

In a 9x13x3 inch (deep dish) lasagna pan, ladle a cup or two of the sauce on the bottom.  Add a layer of noodles, covering the sauce.  Spread 1 cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, sprinkle with the shredded cheese, add another layer of sauce.  Start again with the noodles, ricotta, shredded cheese, sauce.  And again.  And yet again!  Press down these 4 layers.  Your ricotta mixture should be gone.  Now your last layer will be just noodles, sauce and cheese.

Place your lasagna pan on a rimmed baking sheet.  Put into a preheated 375 degree oven and loosely tent the pan with heavy duty foil.  Bake for 45-50 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the top layer is golden, the edges are bubbly, and there's some crispy ribbons of noodle sticking up and begging to be sampled.

Save those for the cook.

Serve the rest to your family with a big green salad and some crusty bread.  And a nice bottle of Chianti for Mr. and Mrs. Sassy.

1 comment: