Monday, August 25, 2008

la-la-la lasagna!

Lasagna isn't something we have very often. It's delicious, but the time and preparation usually keep me from bothering to make it. However, Josh requested it, and reminded me that it has been a long time.
I always use homemade spaghetti sauce. This time, though, I wanted something different...brighter in flavor...fresher in flavor. Then I saw this huge pile of cherry tomatoes sitting on my counter...hmmm.

Garden Maranara Sauce
2 cups of cherry tomatoes - cut in half
1 small onion - diced
1 clove garlic - diced
1 can diced tomatoes (including juice)
1 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh parsley - chopped
4 large leaves of basil - chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
olive oil

In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sautee the onions and garlic for about 5-10 minutes or until transparent.

Add the cherry tomatoes and sautee about 10 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer another 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add the parsley and basil and simmer another 10 minutes.

I also browned about a pound of ground beef in another skillet and then added it to the finished sauce.

The sauce was perfect and I cried a little that I had to add meat to it. But lasagna is just so boring without meat.

Lasagna Recipe
1 box of lasagna noodles
1.5 pounds ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella..or white cheddar...or asiago (I used imported provolone)
1 cup of fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Meat Sauce (recipe above)

Boil the lasagna noodles for about 6-7 minutes. You want them to still be a bit firm when you remove them from the pot. Drain the noodles and lay each noodle on paper towel to absorb any excess moisture.

Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese in a bowl and set aside.

In a 9x13 pan (or lasagna pan), put a layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of the pan.

Then put down a layer of noodles, overlapping the edges.

Take 1/3 of the cheese mix and spread it over the noodles.

Place another layer of meat sauce on top of the cheese layer. Continue with noodles, cheese, sauce. You should have about 3 layers, with the very top layer being sauce. I'll then sprinkle some shredded mozzarella on top.

Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees. Allow to cool about 10 minutes before cutting.

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