Monday, May 14, 2012

Lasagna - Pasta Cheesy Goodness

If it weren't so time consuming, I would make lasagna more. When it's done well, it's really good. Here's the Amateur Gourmet's effort (lifted from Ina Garten).


Summary: A relatively easy, flavor-packed lasagna adapted from Ina Garten.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian pork sausage removed from the casing
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound lasagna noodles
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
  1. If you want to make the lasagna right away, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. If you want to save it for later, preheat the oven when you’re ready to bake.
  2. Start by making the sauce: heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and cook just until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add the sausage and break it up with your wooden spoon as it cooks until there are no big chunks of it–and cook until the sausage is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil (if you’re using it), 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until thickened; taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.
  5. In another bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, the egg, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  6. Ladle 1/3rd of the sauce into a 9 X 12 (or 13)-inch baking dish, spreading the sauce around. Add a layer of pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta (spread it around with an offset spatula) and 1/3rd of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Parmesan (or more, to cover the surface) and bake for 30 minutes until the sauce is bubbling.
Quick notes
This isn’t a case where you need to buy the highest-end ricotta or goat cheese; because of the big flavors going on here (especially the sweetness from the tomato paste) feel free to use supermarket brands–you probably won’t notice the difference. And serve it up with my favorite Caesar salad; it’s a great pairing.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

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