Wednesday, July 31, 2013




 
Lasagne recipe- my own. My guests have really liked this, and I think I have tweaked it to perfection- but the key to success (as I was telling my friends last night) is a pan with really high sides. My pan is square, and has a side that is 3 1/2 inches tall (and is a 5 quart pan)- and I build the lasagne all the way to the top.

You will need 32 oz of ricotta. Two boxes of no boil lasagne noodles. 3 jars of spaghetti sauce (I use "When In Rome"- in two flavors, 2 jars of 3 cheese, and 1 jar of vodka sauce). 1 1/2 pounds of mozzarella - sliced about 1/4 inch thick- I'm using logs, so the circles are smaller- and they are pre-sliced if you get the Galbani ones from Costco. The round cheeses work, but you'll have to work on controlling the size, especially on the final layer. 1 lb of organic ground beef, cooked, cooled, crumbled (you can make this without the beef). 8 oz grated Kraft parmesan cheese (works better than the freshly grated stuff- trust me)- this is 1/2 of one of the 16 oz jars Costco sells. 4 eggs.

Mix together well the eggs, parmesan cheese and ricotta.

Line the bottom of your pan with about 1/2 of one of the jars worth of sauce. Spread evenly. Cover with a layer of noodles. Break noodles to fit rather than overlapping. Do not overlap noodles.

Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Use about 1/3 of the mix. Use a spatula to get even coverage. Crumble all the meat evenly over this layer. Cover this layer with the other 1/2 of your first jar of sauce (I use 3 cheese for this layer). Try for even coverage. Now dot this layer with about 9 rounds of mozzarella, and apply a new layer of noodles. Cover noodles with ricotta (2nd 1/3) mixture, then sauce (now add first 1/2 jar of vodka sauce) and dot with another 9 rounds of mozzarella. Another layer of noodles, top with ricotta sauce (final 1/3- use it all up! Doesn't matter if there's a little extra in this layer), more vodka sauce (second 1/2), dot with mozzarella, and cover with noodles. Now, cover the noodles with 1/2 of a NEW jar of 3 cheese sauce. You'll save the rest of the sauce for plating the lasagne, or some other dish. Finally, top the lasagne with attractive rounds of mozzarella. I use whatever number looks prettiest. This is the layer that will show, and it's best to go small, because you won't want to cut through the mozzarella rounds- each one of them will top one slice, so if you make them small, you'll get more slices- and this is a thick and hearty lasagne. Now, bake the lasagne in your preheated oven for at least an hour. I bake mine on a pizza stone. The top will begin to brown lightly around the edges- the key is lightly! Crack the oven door and make sure of the color- CLOSE door. Turn the oven off. Let the dish sit for at least 1/2 hour in the closed oven- check it, make sure it isn't browning too much- the very edges (next to the pan) can be dark brown (but not black!) but nothing else should be. Let some heat out if it is cooking too much. This sitting will firm it up, so you get luscious lovely squares that come out perfectly and will amaze your friends and relatives.

Plating:
You can use the left over sauce to plate the lasagne if you want. Heat it in a pan, or in the microwave. Make a circle of sauce on a warm plate and put the lasagne in the middle of the sauce, garnish with a sprig of basil, or thyme.

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