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Lasagna, A Little Different

August 17, 2011

After a short, but unwilling time off fighting my ISP, the blog is overdue for a new recipe!

A good lasagna is probably some of the best date, dinner party or family dinner dishes.  Making it is not difficult at all, albeit it is a little tedious.  To save time, you can assemble the lasagna one day, or in the morning, and put it in the fridge, then bake it before dinnertime rolls around.

First, heat a large pot of water to boiling, adding some salt and oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.  As the water comes to a rolling boil, add the lasagna pieces – I broke them in halves so they fit in the pot easier.

Boiling the Pasta

Cook only a few at a time, making sure they don’t stick together.  You don’t need to cook the pasta ready – about 3 minutes of boiling will be just enough.  Remove and drip the pasta, and place them on layers of wax paper or aluminum foil so they won’t stick together.

Separate the layers with wax paper

In a large skillet, brown 1 lb of ground meat of your choice.  Beef is the most accessible, however, ground turkey may be cheaper, and is definitely leaner and healthier.  Personally, I best like pork, but usually I just go with turkey.

When using turkey, keep stirring to help it break down to fine crumbles

Add a small head of onion, chopped finely, just as the meat starts to brown.  Slice some mushrooms thin – I used about 6 medium caps – and add them as the onion starts to saute.  Of course, the amount of mushrooms can be changed to suit your taste, or you can just omit them completely.

Add the onions

Finally, add some marinara sauce or a good quality spaghetti sauce.  You can also make your own, however, being strained for time, I just opted for my trusty brand of canned sauce.  Spice it up to your liking with oregano, basil, thyme or pepper.

Saucing things up

In a small bowl, combine 1 lb of ricotta cheese with garlic salt and parmesan cheese to taste.  If you can’t get your hands on ricotta, you can use cottage cheese instead – just use a little more salt; and if you have the time for it, place the cheese in a 4-layer folded cheesecloth and hang it over the sink as a knapsack for an hour or two to get rid of the extra whey.  (The whey dripping from the cheese can be a refreshing summer drink itself.)

You may also add shredded mozzarella to this mixture

Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray.  Spread a small amount of the meat sauce on the bottom, then add a layer of pasta.

Rotate the layers for easier slicing

On top of this, add about half of the cheese mixture and spread evenly.  Another layer of pasta, then meat sauce…  just keep going until you only have a little sauce left.  Then make another cheese layer, coat it with pasta, which in turn gets covered with the last of the meat sauce.  Sprinkle some parmesan and/or mozzarella cheese on top before putting it in the oven, preheated to 350 degrees, for about 25-30 minutes.

Lasagne with meat sauce

Enjoy your meal!

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