Sunday, January 11, 2009

not my mom's lasagna

I love my mom, but not her lasagna. (love you mom!) Once I ventured out on my own and started learning how to cook, I set out to make lasagna more to my taste. The two things I really didn't like were dry corners and chunky vegetables in the sauce. Easy enough -- extra sauce in the corners and sides, and well, no chunky vegetable sauce.

So, here's what I've got thus far. Let's see what the rest of this Italian family has to offer on the topic of lasagna making.

The building blocks:
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles (I'll try making my own soon...)
1 lb Italian sausage
2 lbs shredded mozzarella
1/2 lb ricotta cheese
shredded parmesan
and sauce...

Now, I've been guilty of using jarred tomato sauces for quite some time now. There is usually a good deal of 'doctoring' involved, but still, it just doesn't feel right.
For this particular sauce, I started with 1 large jar of plain Ragu, then added 1 small can of tomato sauce and 1 can of diced tomatoes. For herbs and spices, I added approximately 2 T each of oregano and basil, 1 T of crushed red pepper and 2 t of garlic powder. I was in a bit of a hurry to get dinner on the table and simmered the sauce for only about 45 minutes. Then I took my immersion blender to it to take care of the diced tomatoes.

The building process:
Sauce, noodles, sauce, cheese, noodles, sauce, meat, cheese, sauce, noodles, sauce, cheese, noodles, sauce, cheese.
(a block of parmesan reggiano about to be destroyed by my new Microplane)

1 hour at 350F covered with foil, 15 minutes with the foil off, 15 minutes to cool before serving. Served up with crunchy bread and a salad.

Now, I may like my own lasagna better than my mom's, but she's had to answer some pretty silly cooking questions coming from me over the years. Questions such as, "how do you cook chicken?" and "how do you boil an egg?". So, thanks again mom!