Friday, February 6, 2009


I love lasagna. Not like Garfield loves lasagna, but I do love it. It says family to me - it's sort of an ongoing joke that at any Romo family gathering there will be a big old tray of Stouffer's lasagna. This (and grandma's spaghetti sauce) are why I plan our Mexican-Irish family dinner at an Italian restaurant every year. Whenever I'm missing my grandma it means one of three dinners will be on the table soon: lasagna, stew, or spaghetti with meat sauce. We'll get into her orange Jell-O salad later.
In any case, I've been home sick the majority of the week, and we all know that means nonstop HGTV and Food Network (since it doesn't really matter when I fall asleep and miss half of or perhaps three shows). Drawback being that I don't really have any food in the house and this is somewhat torturous. Yesterday and today featured lasagna and now I'm confident I'll have to make it next week. Give me a shout if you want to come over.
I think whenever I've made lasagna in the past I've used the recipe from the BH&G cookbook my dad got me.
Following are three recipes: the BH&G version, Ina Garten's Portobello mushroom lasagna, and finally Robin Miller's version, only because I love that she made a ton of ground beef and used it for lasagna one night, tacos another, and sloppy joes another. How easy is it to cook up a bunch of meat on a Sunday, have a delicious lasagna that night and leftovers for lunch during the week, then spend 15 minutes or so making tacos or joes?!

3/4 lb of your favorite ground meat (chicken, turkey, sausage, pork, beef)
1 c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes (7 1/2 oz)
1 8 0z can tomato sauce
1 6 0z can tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil, crushed
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
(optional 1 tsp crushed fennel seed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
6 lasagna noodles (5 oz)
1 beaten egg
2 c ricotta cheese
1/2 c grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
8 oz of mozzarella (slice it if it's not already sliced)

Of course I typically use lowfat cheeses and chicken or turkey meat when I make this, but go with what you like.

Put the pasta water on to boil.
SAUCE - heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat and add onions and garlic, cooking til fragrant. Add the meat and cook until it's well browned and drain off any fat. Stir in the tomatoes (undrained!), tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, (fennel if you're using it) and s&p. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occassionally.
NOODLES - while the sauce is simmering, cook the noodles according to package directions (I pull them when they're still pretty al dente so they don't get too mushy) and drain.
**note: you don't want the noodles to sit around after they've been cooked and drained or they go all stiff and weird**
FILLING - Again, while sauce is simmering, and noodles are cooking, combine egg, ricotta, 1/4 c of the grated cheese and the parsley flakes.
ASSEMBLY - In a 12 x 7 1/2 x 2" baking dish, add a small amount of sauce in the bottom. Lay half of the cooked noodles in, trimming if necessary. Spread with half of the cheese filling and top that with half of the meat sauce and half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers sprinkling the remaining grated cheese on top.
BAKE - 375 for 30-35 minutes til heated through. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

This can be made ahead of time; just stop before baking. Cover with plastic wrap for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, remove the plastic, cover with foil and bake in a 375 oven for 35 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 20 minutes or til heated through.

Kosher salt
good olive oil
3/4 lb dried lasagna noodles
4 cups whole milk (I bet I'd use low or nonfat)
12 tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup AP flour
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 lbs portobello mushrooms
1 c freshly ground Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375.
SAUCE - bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt one stick of butter (8 tbsp) in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 tbsp salt, the pepper & nutmeg, and cook over medium-low, stirring first with the wooden spoon and then a whisk, for 3-5 minutes til thick. Set aside off heat.
Separate mushroom stems from caps and discard the stems. Slice the caps 1/4" thick. Heat 2 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter in a 12" saute pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes til they are tender and release some of their juices. Toss occassionally to make sure they are cooking evenly. Repeat with remaining mushrooms and set aside.
NOODLES - while preparing the sauce, cook the noodles, drain and set aside.
ASSEMBLY - spread some sauce in the bottom of an 8 x 12 x 2" dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 c of the Parmesan. Repeat layers two more times. Final layer should be noodles, sauce and remaining Parmesan.
BAKE - at 375 for 45 minutes or til top is browned and sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit 15 minutes before serving.

And because a) this post is damn long enough, and b) you can use the same basic idea to do this your own without following these exact recipes, (and maybe c), I've only made one of her recipes and I'm not quite comfortable vouching for the fact that all of her stuff turns out well with only one try under my belt) I'm only posting links to Robin's.
Sloppy Joes

1 comment:

Cynical Siren said...

mmmm, drool *pinches fat that just grew on hips even thinking of lasagna*