Lasagna is a basic simple Italian dish that many people love. Aside from being simple and easy to make, it’s also a dish that is very versatile. You can easily modify any basic recipe, and make it your own with a few simple adjustments. Substitute chicken for beef, add spinach that’s been sauteed in garlicbutter, and change the sauce to a nice alfredo. At that moment you have changed it from basic lasagna to white lasagna, or even instead of noodles, slice about 3 egg plants length ways and pan fry them. Then use them in place of the noodles and increase the amount of parmesan cheese, to make eggplant parmesan lasagna.
To better help you understand how to make and modify this recipe I have decided to inform you some about lasagna. First off, there are two basic forms of lasagna, I know I just said that lasagna is very versatile, but there is only really two kinds. One kind of lasagna is simply a type of pasta, a large flat noodle. Sometimes it has a ripple along the outer edges, but not always, in fact in Northern Italy you will hardly ever find rippled lasagna noodles. The second type of lasagna is the actual dish that we eat. The dish lasagna is simply layered pasta, cheese, and sauce that is baked in an oven. So you could take spaghetti; macaroni; rotini; penne; or even rice, layer it with cheese and sauce, bam technically it’s lasagna. Actually lasagna made with rice is called ricange. So now that you know the basics of what lasagna is and what it can be made of, it’s time to get started.
You will need:
1 large baking dish or lasagna pan. (I prefer metal)
1 skillet or frying pan
1 large pot
Some aluminum foil.
4 cups of meat or a tomato ragu sauce.
1 to 1 1/2 lasagna noodles, usually around 8 noodles.
3 eggs beaten.
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese. (try a Parmesan Romano blend)
32oz ricotta cheese or cottage cheese. (I like to use a half and half blend, 16oz of each mixed)
2 1/2 lbs mozzarella cheese.
2lbs ground beef.
1 medium onion
A pinch of dried oregano, thyme, and basil.
Salt and pepper to your taste.
Oliver oil used for greasing pan, and browning hamburger.
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Follow instructions on the box of lasagna noodles and begin to boil them. You only want them to get half done, so basically til they are flimsy and bendable, but still firm. This usually happens about 5 minutes into the boiling process.
3. Grease your skillet lightly, then chop your onion. Add onion and ground beef in skillet and begin to brown. While cooking use a spatula, long handled spoon, whatever you’re using to stir the combination, to break up the meat into finer pieces. Once beef is cooked throughly drain excess grease off, using an empty can is a good way to hold onto it, let it cool, and dispose of it cleanly later.
4. Now in a large bowl combine eggs, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, spice blend, salt, and pepper. Mix it well, make sure the spices are mixed through, and that the eggs and cheeses have blended.
5. Now take and grease the large baking dish or lasagna pan. Taking a small amount of sauce coat the bottom of the dish.
6. Now begin to layer your dish, there are really no rules here as long as pasta goes down first and last, but i prefer to do it this way to hold together better. Place a layer of pasta down, put a thin layer of meat and onion over it, add the mixture from the bowl, sauce, pasta, mozzarella, repeat until you’re out of ingredients. I just like to make sure that last layers are pasta, cheese, sauce.
7. Top off the dish with aluminum foil, then put lasagna in the oven for 35-45 minutes. The dish is done when the center is hot, and cheese is melted. and the edges have a nice crisp to them.
8. Once the dish is taken out let it sit for at least 20 minutes before you decide to eat it. So the flavors meld together, and the dish sets up so you don’t have a huge mess on your plate. This is also a great dish to make a day ahead.
I hope this has helped you all out, and inspired you to go off on your own exploring the world of lasagna.