pasta, grains, + noodles

lasagna

This is a pretty classic take on lasagna.  My (very Italian) mom would add a little sugar, nutmeg and some fresh mint to the ricotta mixture.  I opted not to but try it both ways and see what you like.  You can certainly leave out the beef or use turkey or sausage instead.  Add some spinach, grilled veggies in the layers...whatever calls to you.  This is some work so I say double it and put one in your freezer for a rainy day.

This feeds a crowd and is even better the next day.

lasagna

for the sauce:

2 lbs organic ground beef

2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 t oregano

2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes

crushed red pepper to taste

salt and pepper to taste

for the layers:

1 1/2 lb fresh ricotta

2 eggs

1 t oregano

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb fresh mozzarella, grated

1 c grated parmesan cheese

1 lb box lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 350º

Time: 2 hours. 30 minutes prep, 1 hour to cook, 15-30 to rest

Put your water on to boil.  Cook noodles until they are still firm to the bite and drain well, taking care to separate and lay them on clean tea towels to dry.  If you use paper towels, you run the risk of getting the paper stuck to the noodles.  If you don't drain your noodles, your lasagna will be watery and runny.  Not what you want at all.

IMG_1389
IMG_1389

While the water is heating, start the sauce.  In a very large saute pan, brown the beef.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes.

Add the tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper and let it cook for a few minutes. Adjust the seasonings.  Turn the heat to low simmer and give it a stir every now and again.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the two eggs and add the ricotta and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Start the layering but spread a small amount of sauce over the bottom of the lasagna pan.

Add a layer of noodles, followed by the ricotta mixture, about 1/2 c sauce, and finish with a thin sprinkle of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Repeat the process and finish with a layer of noodles.

Spread a small amount of sauce over the entire pan and cover with a thin layer of the remaining cheese.  Bake for about 1 hour, until it's bubbling and the cheese on top is melted and toasted.

Let it rest for at least 15 minutes, 30 is better, before cutting.  Serve with the remaining sauce.