Friday, 13 May 2011

Lasagna anyone?

I think lasagna is one of the best kept secrets......well not lasagna in general..... but how easy it is to make.   So many people I know buy the frozen lasagnas from the grocery store, and although some can be quite good, nothing beats home made lasagna!  Lasagna is so simple and fast, I can't believe more people don't do it!  And no, I'm not talking about making your own lasagna noodles from scratch (although I"m sure that would make it taste that much better, and that is something I would like to try)  I'm talking about the average household cook putting something fairly healthy (all ingredients are recognizable and in food form as well as can be pronounced) :-) and super delicious on the supper table. and the best part is because you are the one making it, it is done exactly to your taste, it can be as spicy or as meaty as you like!  How is President's Choice supposed to know you personally would like them to triple the garlic and double the thyme?  Not to mention the biggest complaint I get from T regarding store bought lasagna is that it's nowhere near meaty enough to satisfy his meat tooth! 

Lasagna is 3 things.  
1. Meat sauce
2. Cheese
3. Noodles 

The noodles are simple. I buy the whole wheat boxed ready to bake (none of this pre boiling business......way too annoying!)

The Cheese is simple.  2 eggs beat and mixed into 500g or so of ricotta cheese, season with salt and pepper and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese

The meat sauce, although more ingredient heavy is still very simple.  Brown your ground meat......I like to change it up, I've used ground pork, ground chicken, ground beef, even ground veal........each one gives it a slightly different flavour...... then you just add to your taste,  in our house we add onions, garlic, mushrooms, red peppers, diced tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, basil.  I reduce the heat to minimum and then I add tomato sauce, most days to keep it simple I just use a jar of whatever was on salePrimo, or Ragu or whatever but sometimes I do make my own.......that recipe I will leave for another post!

Ladle a couple of spoonfuls of the meat sauce into your pan (I usually use 9x9 I find it's the perfect size for the amount of cheese mixture I've made...keeping in mind as well we like it thick) spread it out so it covers the bottom of the pan then lay down a layer of noodles (if you lay them down east west, make sure you alternate for your next layer and lay them north south, continuing on in that helps the lasagna keep it's form once you've served it) ladle another couple of spoonfuls of sauce, making sure to cover all the noodles then use about a third of the cheese mixture and gently spread it over the meat sauce without mixing it into the sauce (having separate layers looks much nicer once it's been plated)
another layer of noodles, sauce, cheese mixture, noodles sauce cheese mixture (now it should be used up) noodles, just enough sauce to cover the noodles and finish it off with some grated mozzarella and grated Parmesan.  throw it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour and voila a ton of compliments like: I haven't had lasagna this good in a long time! or this is the best lasagna I've ever had!  
Making lasagna will do wonders for your self esteem lol!

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