Lasagna

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Most of the time when I want lasagna, I do like everyone else and just toss one together with store bought noodles and sauce. This lasagna, on the other hand, is the recipe that I use when I want to go all out. I make it in my deep stainless lasagna/roasting pan so I don't have to worry about everything fitting.

With this recipe, I recommend making everything yourself or buying the best ingredients from your local farmer's market. Given the amount of effort it requires, there's not much point in skimping here. And with such a huge amount of food, it comes out quite reasonable per serving.

Preparation Time:
Prep: 1.5 hours; Baking 1.25 hours

Ingredients

Ricotta Mix

  • 1-15 oz. tub ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage

Sauce Mix

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or buffalo
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 medium crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 quart + 1 cup Baked Tomato Sauce

Cheese Mix

  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 2 cups shredded smoked provolone
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup Romano
  • 1/2 cup extra-sharp cheddar
Cooking Instructions
  1. Make your lasagna noodles, trim them to fit your pan, and let them dry while you prepare your other ingredients
  2. Cook your Italian sausage, breaking it into small chunks. Add the sausage, ricotta, egg and nutmeg to your food processor and pulse a few times to break up and coat the sausage with the cheese. Set aside.
  3. In the same pan, brown your ground beef. Drain and set aside.
  4. Use the same pan to saute your mushroom, onion and garlic. When everything is softening up, add the beef back in, and pour the baked tomato sauce over it to simmer for a few minutes. Add salt, pepper and Italian herbs to taste.
  5. Shred and mix together your cheeses in a bowl.
  6. Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil near where you are going to assemble your lasagna. You will boil your noodles, one layer at a time for about 30-45 seconds each as you assemble. I find a large Asian spider strainer is handy for fishing the sheets out and letting them drain.
  7. Pour the one cup of tomato sauce that was not mixed with the meat and veggies into the bottom of your lasagna pan and spread it around, then add your first layer of noodles.
  8. Add a layer using about half your meat/tomato sauce mix, topped with half the cheese mix, then add another layer of noodles.
  9. Spread out the ricotta/sausage mix in one thick layer. It may seem too thick, but trust me, it comes out REAL good. I learned this trick from Nicolino's Garden Cafe in Sunnyvale CA.
  10. Top everything off with another layer of noodles, then the rest of the meat sauce and finally the cheese.
  11. Fit an aluminum foil tent over the top of the pan, and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes, dropping the temperature to 350 degrees.
  12. let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
Notes
This lasagna freezes and reheats well. Refrigerate the leftovers, then cut what is left into half a normal serving size pieces as they reheat better that way. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and put them all in a zip-top bag and put them in the freezer. They will keep for at least a couple of months this way. Reheat in a toaster oven or a microwave. I recommend running it through a defrost cycle on your microwave first.

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This is getting me in the

This is getting me in the mood for a nice lasagna. I think I will start up a batch of sauce tonight.

Seeing the big, deep dish, pan also reminded me of the first lasagna I made for Mary Ellen in her old Wedgewood stove. My big, deep dish, cast iron pan did not fit in the oven - of course I did not think to measure before I loaded the pan. So I lowered the temperature of the oven to 325F, put the oven shelf as high as I could get it in the oven and still fit the pan (this let the door close a bit more), and packed the opening around the door with foil. It took almost three hours to bake and I had to crisp up the top under the broiler but it sure turned out good.

%%michael

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Then their was the lasagna

Then their was the lasagna we made for WestTec with the food that they sold at the campground, baking it in the round glass bowl. I don't think we need to post that recipe here.