Lasagna

Lasagna

While in college learning to cook, I would choose one dish and “study” it until I had mastered it.  Lasagna was one of my choices and I tried all kinds of meatless varieties (I was vegetarian then).  I think I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on it so I’m sharing a traditional take on lasagna that turns out great every time.  This recipe will probably give enough meat sauce to make another dinner with spaghetti, you can cut down on the amounts a bit if you just want to make the lasagna.  Also, if you don’t have all the veggies, don’t worry; each lasagna is a new creation anyways!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground pork (leave out to make the recipe vegetarian; I still don’t eat beef, but you could substitute it here)

4 T. oil

1 can diced tomatoes

1 1/2 jars prepared pasta sauce (I used Spicy Red Pepper sauce this time)

2 whole tomatoes, diced

1 onion, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1/2 c. chopped carrot

1/2 c. sliced olives

3 c. shredded zucchini (a good way to use them up! but optional if you’re not a big fan)

1 bell pepper, chopped

7 cloves garlic, crushed

1/3 c. leeks, chopped finely (I chop a bunch of leeks at a time and freeze it, then throw handfuls into whatever I’m working on)

1 T. salt

sprinkle pepper

1 T. basil

1 T. powdered garlic

1/3 c. parmesan cheese

—–

1 L. ricotta cheese (can substitute cottage if you blend it first)

1/2 c. shredded fresh mozzarella

1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar

1/2 c. parmesan

1 T. basil

5 eggs

—–

Lasagna noodles

Directions:

All the vegetables are going to end up in the pot eventually, but I usually add the oil and fry the onions, carrots, garlic, etc first.  Then add the canned tomatoes and so on.  Once everything is in there, let it simmer while cooking the meat in a fry pan.  When done, add to the vegetable sauce (or omit for a vegetarian version).  You want to let this simmer for at least an hour so the flavors can “meld” properly – lasagna is not a dish you throw together at the last minute.

While the sauce is simmering, mix all the cheeses and eggs together (beat if you want a fine consistency).

{{OPTIONAL cheese mix:  I really like Costco’s “Spinach Artichoke Dip” and threw it in a lasagna – YUM.  If you want to, substitute 1/2-1 c. cottage cheese, 3/4 L of Dip, 1/3 c. shredded cheese (pepper Jack is good) and eggs instead of the recipe above.  Good stuff!}}

When the sauce tastes “ready”, not raw, preheat the oven.  Use 350 if you have time, 400 if you don’t.

Layer the lasagna in a 9×13 baking dish.  Start with one layer of noodles, then a layer of meat sauce, then cheese mixture, then noodles again.  By the third level of noodles I’m usually out of space so I put a little of the cheese mix on the last noodle layer (to prevent burning), then top with some more shredded cheddar (as much as you like).  Cover with aluminum foil and bake approximately 1 hour, depending on oven temp and what your dish is made out of (stoneware always takes longer).  It’s done when a knife slices through the pasta easily.  Take the foil off 15 min. before it’s done so the cheese can brown and any extra “juice” can evaporate.

Allow to cool a few minutes before slicing.  Voila!  Lasagna!

Serves 8 hungry adults

A note on noodles:  I use the “oven ready” kind, but regular works fine, just follow the directions for cooking the noodles first.  Or you can cheat and use regular noodles without cooking, but put a little hot water in the corners of your pan just before baking so the noodles don’t suck all the water out of your sauce.  Like I said, I just use oven-ready.  🙂  AND, lastly, you can substitute out the lasagna noodles entirely and use another pasta but if you do make sure to cook the pasta first to the al-dente (firm) stage.  This makes a delicious baked pasta dish.

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One Response to Lasagna

  1. Yvonne says:

    Kathy, I’ve really been enjoying browsing around your site and finding so much interesting stuff. I like the sounds of this lasagna–it will be a must in my recipe files–makes me hungry. I got a big kick out of seeing Oma’ bread recipe. I haven’t met you personally yet, but look forward to it sometime when you able to come “home” to visit in Waldheim. My husband, Johnny, is “Oma’s” cousin. We met Nathan at his parent’s place once just before he was allowed to come to California. We’ve just completed designing a webpage too for Johnny’s writings–so, take a look and tell Nathan about it too. Keep up the good site. Blessings to you all. Love the pix of your children too! Wonderful Newsletters.

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