Rant and Rave Dinner Party Lasagna Recipe
This is by far, the best lasagna I've ever tasted. Admittedly, this recipe is a little more work than what I normally like to do, but it still fits in the overall guideline of about 30 minute preparation time. But you need to be prepared to work on this recipe in two parts, so your prep time is divided up. So that you know what to prepare for up front, here are the statistics:
Prep time: 30 minutes, divided.
Total cooking time: 2 hours, 40 minutes.
Serving time: about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
There are a few little surprises in the ingredients list that really help bring out flavor and texture. Winging it as I went, I was a little concerned how it would turn out for a dinner party, but it got rave reviews, and now there are rants about me "forking over the recipe," so to speak. So further further ado, here is Rant and Rave Lasagna.
Ingredients, Part A:
3/4 lb Italian sausage. If you buy the links, using a knife, slit the casings and remove the sausage.
3/4 lb extra lean hamburger.
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped.
2 to 4 cloves fresh garlic, pressed, or about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder to taste.
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped Basil leaves (dried is acceptable).
1 teaspoon Oregano.
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fennel seeds.
1 teaspoon salt.
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
6 tablespoons fresh finely chopped parsley (2 tablespoons for meat sauce, 4 set aside for Ricotta cheese).
2, 14 oz cans of crushed basil/oregano tomatoes (or one large 28 oz can).
2, 6 oz cans of tomato paste.
1, 6.5 oz cans of tomato sauce.
1, 6 oz bottle of Kalamata olives, chopped or sliced.
8 oz of canned or freshly sliced mushrooms.
8 to 10 oz can of artichoke hearts, finely chopped.
In a large sautee pan with lid (or large frying pan with lid), on medium heat, combine Italian sausage and hamburger and add chopped onion, garlic, spices, salt, pepper and parsley. Brown until cooked, and then add the rest of the ingredients above, but make sure you only use 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Stir all ingredients together, as the mixture approaches a boil, reduce the heat to very low and let simmer for at least 2 hours.
Ingredients, Part B:
16 oz low fat Ricotta cheese
8 oz Mozarella cheese grated or sliced
8 oz Parmesian cheese grated
4 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley (from ingredients list above)
6 to 8 lasagna noodles
About 1 1/2 hours later, bring lightly salted water to a boil in a kettle or large saucepan and cook lasagna noodles for 8 to 10 minutes (or as directed on the package). While the noodles cook, in a mixing bowl combine Ricotta cheese, egg, and the remaining 4 tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley. Mix well. Preheat oven to 375º. Drain and rinse lasagna noodles.
In a 9"x13" baking dish, place about half of the meat mixture on the bottom of the dish.
Arrange half of the noodles lengthwise on top of the meat mixture.
Place the Ricotta cheese mixture on top of the layer of noodles.
Place the Mozarella cheese on top of the Ricotta mixture.
Arrange the remaining lasagna noodles lengthwise on top of the Mozarella cheese.
Place the remaining meat mixture on top of the noodles.
Sprinkle generous amounts of grated Parmesian cheese over the top.
Spray foil to cover the baking dish with a non-stick cooking spray to prevent the foil from sticking to melted cheese. Cover the baking dish with foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes removing foil the last 15 minutes of baking time.
Cool for 30 to 40 minutes before serving.
Makes 12 average size servings, or 9 larger servings.
Try Different Kinds of Lasagna Noodles
There are so many more healthy choices in pasta nowadays. I just discovered there is such a thing as a green lentil lasagna noodles! Who knew! But not only green lentil, but also zucchini lasagna noodles, spinach, and there are probably many others that I haven't yet discovered. However, I'm going to make a point of trying some of these newer offerings.
I believe that cooking is part art and part science. But the craft involves a lot of creativity, experimenting to discover the right balance of ingredients, flavors, textures
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© 2009 Daniel Carter