Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lasagna

Like many of my recipes I have been making this lasagna for over 20 years now and have never attempted to write the recipe down. So I had to make this with notepad by my side, scribbling as I pinched and stirred. It was a very messy piece of paper by the time I got done.

One note – lasagna is not very photogenic. I tried to get a shot of just a piece of it on a plate, and no luck. It just looks like a gooey mess….a gooey mess that tastes fantastic that is.

This is my lasagna recipe. People really seem to like it. My husband adores it. I’m sure you have a favorite too….this is his.

Lisa’s Lasagna
Printable recipe
1 package lasagna noodles (I like Barilla or Ronzoni)
2 pounds ground beef or turkey or a mixture of both.
1 large onion, chopped
Large container whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
Provolone cheese
Pecorino Romano cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Fresh chopped parsley
Dried oregano
Fresh chopped basil
Garlic, chopped – to taste. I use 5 – 6 cloves. We are garlic fiends. You can use less.
Sauce – I usually make my own sauce, but in a pinch jarred will do. You will probably end up using about 1 ½ - 2 jars.

I start my lasagna the way I start many dishes, by cooking up some onions and garlic in some good olive oil. I do a fairly large chop on the onions and then cook them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, just until they are translucent.

Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very, very al dente. DO NOT OVER COOK YER NOODLES! You will end up with very mushy lasagna if you do. I have often been tempted to try Ina Gartens method of just pouring very hot water over the noodles and letting them sit for 15 minutes, but I haven’t tried it yet.

In a large skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil, cook the onions until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic in for just a minute or so. Add the ground beef or turkey, or both and cook until meat is no longer pink inside. I usually take a colander and drain the mixture at this point. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the ricotta, 2 eggs, Pecorino Romano cheese, and the herbs. Mix gently. I don’t measure any of the herbs. I just chop them up and kind of go with what looks good to me. Set aside.

The assembly:

I kind of make an assembly station for my lasagna making.

I line up, in this order…..the lasagna noodles, a 9x13 inch pan or a 10x15 inch pan. I just found the larger lasagna pan. I had been looking for one for years and I picked it up for $6.99! Bargain. Anyway, back to the line up. The noodles, the pan, then the sauce, the cheese mixture and finally the meat mixture. I start by putting a little sauce in the bottom of the pan. This prevents the noodles from sticking. Put down one layer of noodles, then spread on the ricotta mixture, a layer of mozzarella cheese, and on just one layer, I cover the surface with some Provolone cheese, and then some sauce. Repeat layers. I usually get 2 layers from one box. End with a sprinkling of mozzarella.

Cover with aluminum foil and heat in a 350-degree oven for 30 – 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. I give the foil a shot of cooking spray so it won’t stick. Place a cookie sheet under it in case of spills and bubble over! I remove the foil at the last 15 of cooking so the edges get nice and crunchy…the best part! Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting.

I usually serve this with a big salad and some garlic bread.

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