Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's for dinner tonight

My in-laws were visiting over the weekend so the hubs and I decided to whip up some lasagna since it's great for groups and really, who doesn't like lasagna?*  We went all out and even made the sauce from scratch, rather than using canned tomatoes and paste, but it tastes good either way.  Our only "oops" was forgetting that the sauce had onions AND the lasagna recipe had onions, so, it was a bit heavy on the onions...nevertheless, I think it came out pretty well.  I know there are a million lasagna recipes out there but I'm partial to this one.  We used sausage but you can do any kind of meat, or spinach for the vegetarians:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

12 ounces ground beef, ground pork, or sausage
1 cup chopped onion
2 gloves garlic, minced
1 7.5-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed (optional)
6 dried lasagna noodles (I use 9 and do a third layer)
1 beaten egg
1 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley (I leave this out because I'm cheap and fresh herbs are expensive)
6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1.) For the sauce, in a medium saucepan cook the meat, onion, and garlic until the meat is brown.  Drain the fat.
2.) Stir in the undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, fennel seed (if using) and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.) Meanwhile, cook the lasagna noodles for 10-12 minutes or until tender but firm.  Drain the noodles; rinse with cold water.  Drain well.  (I lay them out on a cookie sheet so they don't get all stuck together before assembly.)
4.) For the filling, combine the egg, ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan or romano cheese and the parsley (if using).
5.) Layer half the cooked noodles in a 2-quart rectangular dish.  Spread with half the filling.  Top with half the meat sauce and half the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers.  If desired, sprinkle additional parmesan cheese on top.
6.) Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Makes 8 servings.

You can also make this ahead and refridgerate for up to 24 hours, you just need to bake it a little longer.

*So who doesn't like lasagna?  That would be Audrey, who gave it one sniff and promptly chucked it off her highchair table and onto the floor for the dog to eat.  Sigh.  And so she remains in the 15th percentile for weight...

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