Lasagna

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Submitted by Eller

I am relatively new to cooking but I like doing it and enjoying the results. In this case, I now have a couple of days worth of food for lunch that actually taste better being leftovers.

To begin, you'll need the following. I did not measure anything out, so feel free to adjust your quantities of ingredients should you desire.

Ingredients

Las1.jpg

  • 1 can tomato sauce (I used a plain variety, but feel free to use a flavour you like)
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 of a green pepper (I found a red one to use too)
  • 3-4 fresh tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Chilies, if you want a bit of a kick.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 450 grams ground meat. I selected beef but you can use veal, pork, turkey or chicken too if you should so desire.
  • Ricotta or cottage cheese
  • Parmesan and/or Mozzarella Cheese to top.
  • a package of lasagna noodles.

Method

  • Start by concocting your sauce. Brown your ground meat in a bit of oil if it's packaged as being lean, but don't use any if your meat's got a bit of fat in it. You should be able to tell just by looking at it.

File:Las4.jpg

  • Cut up your onion and garlic, and add it to the meat.

File:Las5.jpg

  • Prep your peppers, and sautee them in a bit of oil so that they break down a bit but don't get soggy. The point of this is to get a bit of the water out of them so they don't break down in your sauce and make it watery.

File:Las6.jpg

  • Blanch your tomatoes and remove their skins. This has been discussed in other recipes posted on GWS, as well as in the first ICSA. You can also cheat like I did and just pull the tomato fruit off the skin once you've cut it up.
  • Add the tomato sauce to a large pot, and set your heat on low. Your meat should be nicely browned now, so drain it if there's a lot of fat in your pan and add it to your sauce. Add the peppers and tomato as well along with your bay leaves.

File:Las7.jpg

  • Cover and cook over medium heat while you prep your cheeses. Grate the mozzarella, about 200 grams worth, and your parmesan if you have to. I used the pre-grated stuff, so I don't really have an exact measurement but I would estimate about 1/4 cup was used.
  • Drain the ricotta cheese either with cheesecloth or a fine strainer over a bowl.

File:Las8.jpg

  • Set it aside and check on your sauce. All of the flavours should be melding together nicely now, but since I used a bland sauce as my base it was imperative to season as it all tasted a bit flat.
  • When using dried spices, crush them in your hand or with a mortar and pestle to help release their flavour. I used about a tablespoon each of thyme, basil and oregano, but if you're using fresh herbs I would reccomend using 3 times as much of each. I also salted and peppered things at this point.

File:Las9.jpg

  • Let your sauce simmer some with its newly-added flavours and adjust as you wish while things cook. If you find your sauce is too watery, leave the lid off your pot for a bit to reduce it. Likewise, if it's too thick, keep it covered.

File:Las10.jpg

  • Prepare your noodles according to the package directions. 7-11 minutes in salted boiling water should do. Preheat your oven to 350f at this point as well.

File:Las11.jpg

  • Carefully drain the noodles and separate them with tongs so they don't stick together while you get ready to construct the lasagna.

File:Las12.jpg

  • Start by ladling a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your pan.

File:Las13.jpg

  • Add a layer of noodles over the sauce.

File:Las14.jpg

  • Next, add your cheeses.

File:Las15.jpg

  • ...and finally, a layer of sauce. Top more noodles and repeat until you've reached your last layer.
  • Cover the top with mozzarella and parmesan, and then bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

File:Las16.jpg

  • Pair with a dry red wine if you wish, and serve with garlic bread and a small caesar salad. Absoloutely delicious!