“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”
A Lasagna to Fall in Love With!
I have this weird relationship with lasagna… it’s the old love/hate thing… love to eat it… love all the components of it… love how the flavours come together into one big gooey chees-y fusion… do NOT love building them… and, as a result, I’ve never really made them particularly well. I am a firm believer in the theory that anyone can bring any food to a delicious conclusion if they are in LOVE with the process of creating the dish. Because I do not LOVE creating lasagna I have always avoided making them… until now!
I probably decide to make lasagna once or twice a year, different recipe every time, and had just never found one that didn’t annoy the bejeebers out of me during the building process. So I did what seemed my only option, I changed the way I was approaching them. Basically, I threw out all the recipes I had used in the past and went with what I know. I already make a killer tomato sauce and a delectable meat sauce and yes I am blowing my own horn, but facts are facts people! The steps for building up the layers, which was what always bothered me, was where I really made the changes. They are simple and work well WITHOUT requiring a schematic to accurately re-create.
I have to say that one of the main tips I picked up in the many recipes I’ve tried that I want to share with you is to allow the meat sauce to come to room temp before building the lasagna. I can’t tell you what an improvement I believe this has made. It allowed the layers to stay where they were placed as opposed to oozing out all over the place thereby keeping the temper tantrums to a minimum. Always a good thing!
So the bottom line with creating a lasagna is that while creating the layers is certainly a part of it (and a sometimes frustrating one for some of us) it’s not the most important part. If you like lots of complex layers, then build it that way. What is more important is that the components you are working with are first and foremost, excellent quality and delicious, room temp really helps and not overly liquidy Moist is good, soupy is not. (My apologies to all of you who have issues with the word moist… and further for using it twice 🙂 )
Does it still take time? Yes. Put on some good music, maybe pour a glass of wine and settle in for a while, it’ll be worth it TRUST ME!
Enjoy & Namaste!
- olive oil for the pan
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 12-15 mushrooms, rough chopped
- 1 medium
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2-800 ml (28 oz) tin tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp
chillipepper flakes, more to top with if desired
- 1 475 gram container ricotta, about 2 cups
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for top
- 3 cups grated mozzarella,
- 1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove as much liquid as possible
- 1 package oven ready lasagna noodles
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- Brown ground beef and pork in a large
sauce pan, breaking up as it browns.
- When meat is mostly cooked add onions and garlic, cook until they become translucent.
- Add mushrooms and allow to cook over
medium lowheat until mushrooms have released most of their liquid, stirring frequently.
- Season with S&P, oregano and chilli pepper flakes
- Add tomatoes, stir and adjust seasoning as necessary, remove from heat.
- Mix together ricotta,
eggsand parmesan, season lightly with S&P, set aside
- Once meat sauce has cooled to about room temp spread a thin layer in a 9" x 13" pan
- Top with lasagna noodles,
nexta layer of ricotta mixture, then mozzarella.
- Another noodle layer, then ½ of the remaining meat mixture, topped with a layer of ½ the grated mozzarella
- Another noodle layer, topped with remaining ricotta mixture, then ALMOST all of the meat
- Another noodle layer, then remaining mozzarella and a few extra TBSP of parmesan.
- Finally dot the remaining meat sauce over and season
with witha few more pinches of chilli peppers.
- Cover with foil, poking a few vent holes and bake at 375° F for 45 minutes
- Remove foil, increase heat to 425° F for a further 10 minutes or until top is golden brown and bubbling.
- Finally, and this part is important, let it stand for AT LEAST 10-15 minutes before cutting.