Lasagne

Oh my gosh.  This was really good.  Lately I have had such a craving for lasagne.  It isn’t hard to make and you can do it in stages.  I like to make my sauce the day before so when I’m all set to assemble the lasagne everything is ready to go.  I always purchase a very large brick of mozzarella cheese from Costco and grate the whole thing.  Put it into a large zip lock bag, freeze it and I have cheese ready for any recipe.  I find that if I leave the cheese whole I have  the tendency to not use it because I don’t want to grate it. Cans of tomatoes I always stock up on when it goes on sale.  I buy San Marsano plum tomatoes.  They are meatier and don’t contain as much water, which makes a nicer sauce and you don’t have to cook it as long.  If they come from Italy then that’s better still.  The San Marsano tomatoes in Italy are gorgeous.  They are so heavy and thick.  Even if you grown your own here, they’re still not the same. I just couldn’t believe the difference when we were in Italy.  I wish we could get them here. This recipe I have been making for more years then I care to remember.  I have changed it from time to time and used recipes from other people.  Friends, relatives, chefs and cooks but my husband does not like any of them.  He always wants me to make it this way.  So I will share this recipe with you. Butter Chicken, Lazagne 001In a large sauce pan heat 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil and fry 1 chopped onion until it is translucent adding 2 minced garlic cloves. Butter Chicken, Lazagne 002Next add approximately 2 lbs. of ground beef…. Butter Chicken, Lazagne 003Along with 2 cups of chopped mushrooms.  Fry until the meat is browned. Mixing all the ingredients together.  You could also add a chopped green pepper here. Lazagne 002Add 3- 28oz. cans of whole plum tomatoes which I liquify with an immersion blender before I add it to the meat.  Into this I add 1-2 tablespoons of basil.  I use both fresh and dried, depending on what I have, sometimes I’ll add 1-2 teaspoons of dried oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.  I would love to add pepperincino, but my husband can’t eat it so I add that onto my lasagne just before I eat it.  Mix all these ingredients well, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a medium low simmer and cook for approximately 1-1/2 – 2 hours.  Mixing occasionally. Your sauce will reduce, and that’s a good thing. Lazagne 001Your noodles can be done 2 ways.  According to Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, allow your noodles to sit in the hottest hot tap water for 20 minutes, drain.  Or you can cook them the old fashioned way, according to the package directions.  Its really up to you. Lazagne 004This is the way I set up my work station and I start to assemble. Starting with a little sauce on the bottom of my lasagne pan . Lazagne 005 A layer of lasagne noodles to cover the pan, another layer of sauce and mozzarella cheese. Occasionally I will add some Parmesan.  I repeat this process until the noodles, sauce and cheese are all used up. Lazagne 006Placing the lasagne pan into another one in case my sauce bubbles over.  taking care not to dirty my oven.  Cover with foil bake at 350 degrees, for about 1-1/2 – 2 hours. The best way to tell if the lasagne is done, take a spoon and into the middle of the lasagne take a little taste to see if it is really hot.  If so, it is done. Lazagne 007See it did bubble over.  All I have to clean is the pan. Lazagne 008The pictures don’t do it justice.  The house smelt like I think heaven would and the taste was out of this world. Lazagne 009Super fantastic with homemade garlic bread and a fresh salad.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

2 Lbs. Of Ground Beef

4-5 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Chopped Onion

2-3 Grated Garlic Cloves

2 Cups Of Chopped Mushrooms

1 Chopped Green Pepper

3-28 Oz. Cans Of Liquified Plum Tomatoes (San Marsano)

1-2 Tablespoons Of Fresh Basil (Can Use Less, But I Love Basil)

2 Teaspoons Of Oregano

1-2 Teaspoons Of Pepperincino (Crushed Chillies, Optional)

Salt And Pepper To Taste.

Bunch Of Grated Mozzarella Cheese (This Will Vary, I Love Lots Of Cheese, 2 1/2-3 Lbs.)

PREPARATION

Into a large saucepan heat olive oil and add the chopped onion and grated garlic.  Next add your ground beef and fry until the meat starts to brown, then add your mushrooms and green pepper.

Mix well and add your liquified tomatoes. Simmer for approximately 1 1/2 – 2  hours.  You will see that the sauce has thickened and reduced.  No, you do not have to cover this.  If you do then the sauce will not reduce and thicken.  I do not use tomato paste.  When cooking in Italy, the chefs or cooks did not use tomato paste to thicken this sauce.  Which made me chuckle because I thought to myself, “I’ve been doing it right all these years”.

When your sauce is almost done, either soak your lasagne noodles in the hottest tap water you have for 20 minutes or cook it according to the package directions. Drain.

Grate your mozzarella cheese into a bowl. Set up your work station and start to assemble. First add sauce to the bottom of your pan topping with your noodles to completely cover the bottom.  Add your sauce on top of the noodles and then the cheese.  Repeat this until all of your noodles are used up. Don’t skimp on the sauce.  Make sure you use it up. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1-1/2 – 2 hours.  Or until tasting it from the middle of the pan to see if it is very, very hot.  Really scientific!

This lasagne is fantastic served with homemade garlic bread and a fresh garden salad.

ENJOY!

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