Friday, November 4, 2011

Food on Friday 3: Lasagna

A few weeks ago, after my sister's crazy med school final (she's in a med school class even though she's just a master's student!) she was craving some lasagna.  Now, we are sortof lasagna snobs and not any old lasagna was going to do.  I told her to wait it out until we could get to a Maggiano's (OMG I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY PUT IN THERE BUT IT'S LIKE MY CRACK!!!).  Well, that never happened so yesterday I decided I was just going to make my OWN lasagna using the recipe for the World's Best Lasagna.

And my tweaks:
1 package (3/4 lb.) of Aidell's Chicken Sausage (instead of 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage)
1 lb. extra lean ground turkey (instead of 3/4 lb. lean ground beef)
1 whole diced onion (instead 1/2 cup minced onion)
3 minced cloves of garlic (instead of 2 crushed cloves)
1/2 tsp thyme + 1/2 tsp rosemary (instead of 1 tsp Italian seasoning: I just read the Italian seasoning "ingredients" list at the store and used what I had)
1 Tbs garlic salt (instead of regular salt)
1 1/2 tsp dried basil (instead of dried basil leaves)
1 lb mozzarella (instead of 3/4 lb.)
1 1/2 to 2 cups grated Parmesan (instead of 3/4 cup)
Used "Oven-ready" lasagna noodles and didn't have to even pre-soak them.

+ 1.5 pinches of nutmeg to the ricotta
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (I don't like how it tastes)
-  4 Tbs fresh parsley (don't like it either)
- no salt in the ricotta mixture

Suggestions for next time:
1.  1 Tbs sugar instead of 2 (I've also read that ground carrots work just as well to cut the tomato tartness)
2.  Would use 1.5 or 2 lbs of mozzarella (I LOVE cheesy lasagna!!!)

The starting ingredients

In a Dutch oven, cook [chicken] sausage, ground [turkey], onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned.  [I slit the sausage skin lengthwise, peeled it off, and chopped up the sausage]

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley.  [I used a hand blender to mix it all up and to break up the ground turkey and chicken sausage]

Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. 

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  
Oops - no pic: promise it was just a bowl of white ricotta cheese.

To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups [I used 2 cups and it barely covered the bottom of a 10x14 inch pan] of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture.

[Added a layer of spinach!]

Top with a third [1/2] of mozzarella cheese slices.  

Spoon 1 1/2 cups [used 2 cups again and still had 2-3 cups left over] meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

After baking for 55 minutes!  Lunch for 2 for a week for $30!  (we cut it into 12 pieces and my sister are taking one for lunch each day =)