Sunday, November 9, 2008

mmm lasagna

one more item off my list: lasagna from scratch.

i need to invest in a deeper lasagna dish if i plan to make this lasagna often, i was close to overflowing when i put the final topping of cheese on, but thankfully it only swelled up a tiny bit more while baking.
for my first lasagna i must say it was really good.... thinking about it now is making me hungry.

adapted from my lasagna recipe
serves 12

meat sauce:
1 1/4 pound of sweet Italian sausage
1 1/4 pound of ground beef
1 small yellow onion chopped
1 carrot peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 (28 ounce) can of crushed tomatoes
2 (8 ounce) cans of tomato sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans of tomato paste
1/2 Cup of Water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 teaspoons fresh Basil leaves chopped
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (less or more depending how spicy you want it)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

ricotta cheese filling:
23 ounces of ricotta cheese.
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped
1 teaspoon fresh basil chopped

1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 lasagna noodles (not the no boil type)

Meat sauce

In a dutch oven over medium heat, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil (enough to cover the bottom) and brown the ground beef and Italian sausage. Before the meats are fully cooked, add the onions, carrot and garlic in a pot until the onions are golden and transparent.
Once the meat and vegetables are cooked, add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water.

Next add the sugar, fennel seed, basil, italian parsley, salt & pepper, italian seasoning, and red chili pepper flakes.
Cover the pot and let the meat sauce simmer on low heat for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

When the sauce is done, soak 12 lasagna noodles in hot tap water for 15 minutes.

Ricotta cheese filling
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, nutmeg, egg, italian parsley and basil.

Preheat the oven at 350
In a 9x13 baking pan begin assembling the lasagna.
Spread about 2 cups of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay 6 noodles, overlapping slightly, across the layer of sauce. Then spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the layer of noodles. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese over the ricotta layer. Then sprinkle half of the Parmesan cheese over the mozzarella layer.
Repeat with 2 cups of meat sauce, the noodles, then ricotta mix. Sprinkle on 3/4 of the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, reserving the last 1/4 for the top. Add one more layer or meat sauce and sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Place a cookie sheet or foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any overflow. Remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes.
Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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