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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Cut up your onion and garlic, and add it to the meat.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Carefully drain the noodles and separate them with tongs so they don't stick together while you get ready to construct the lasagna.
- Start by ladling a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your pan.
- Add a layer of noodles over the sauce.
- Next, add your cheeses.
- ...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.
- Pair with a dry red wine if you wish, and serve with garlic bread and a small caesar salad. Absoloutely delicious!