Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Simple Lasagna



Lasagna is among one of my favorite foods and I have craving for it every now and then. After tasting so many frozen lasagnas and not being impressed, I decided to make my own. The recipe I am posting is a result of combining and simplifying a few recipes that I found online. The biggest difference in my recipe is the use of oven-ready lasagna noodles, which saved me a lot of time. This recipe is so easy that anyone can make it without buying a whole lot of ingredients.

Ingredients at a Glance

The main ingredients are ground beef, Italian sausages, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, marinara sauce, onion and oven-ready lasagna noodles.


How To Make Simple Lasagna

Dice onion into small pieces. In a deep skillet, brown onion, and then put in ground beef and Italian sausages. You may slice the sausages before bringing them to the skillet, but to save time, I just cut them into pieces with kitchen shears while cooking. Cook on medium-high heat until meats are slightly brown. Empty a jar of marinara sauce into the pan, stir, and let it simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes or until meats are completely cooked. Meanwhile, season the meat sauce with salt and pepper.


In a mixing bowl, crack one egg, use all the ricotta cheese, 2/3 of the mozzarella, and 2/3 of the parmesan. Reserve the two 1/3 bags of cheeses (mozzarella and parmesan) for the top layer later. Season the cheese mixture with cayenne pepper and dried parsley. Mix everything well until it turns into a thick cream. You are welcome to use fresh parsley if you have it. Since I rarely keep fresh parsley in my fridge, I just used what I have in hand. 

 

After mixing the cheeses and cooking the meat sauce, the next step is to compose the lasagna. I was really lost reading other recipes on the composing part, so for convenience, I came up with an easy way to remember the layering order (starting from the bottom layer):
1. Meat Sauce
2. Noodles
3. Cheese Mixture
4. Meat Sauce
5. Noodles
6. Cheese Mixture
7. Meat Sauce
8. Un-mixed Cheeses (Mozzarella & Parmesan) 

For best results, spread the cheese mixture using a soft spatula. Gently shake the pan to level meat sauce. The container I am using is a 9 x 13 inches Pyrex baking pan. 


Cover the pan with foil and make sure it's not in contact with the cheese. Place the covered pan in a 375 degree heated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover, and bake for another 30 minutes. Once it's done, let it cool down for another 20 minutes at room temperature before serving. 


Sprinkle dried parsley over the lasagna. The lasagna is complete and ready to serve. The portion shown here can serve 10, which makes a great party dish. After learning that lasagna is so simple, I don't think I will be buying frozen lasagna anymore.


Ingredients

15 oz Ricotta Cheese
8 oz Mozzarella Cheese, grated
8 oz Parmesan Cheese, grated 
1 lb Ground beef
1 lb Italian Sausages
25 oz Marinara Sauce
1 Medium Size Onion
1 Egg
Salt 
Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Dried Parsley (fresh is even better)
(Makes 10 servings)

Directions
1. Brown diced onion in a deep skillet. Add sliced Italian sausages and ground beef. Cook on medium-high heat. Add marinara sauce, stir, and let it simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes or until meats are completely cooked. Season the meat sauce with salt and pepper.

2. Mix egg, ricotta cheese, 2/3 of the mozzarella, and 2/3 of the parmesan. Reserve the two 1/3 bags of cheeses (mozzarella and parmesan) for the top layer later. Season the cheese mixture with cayenne pepper and dried parsley. Mix everything well until it turns into a thick cream. 

3. In a 9 x 13 inches baking pan, compose the lasagna with the following order (starting from bottom layer):
  • Meat Sauce
  • Noodles
  • Cheese Mixture
  • Meat Sauce
  • Noodles
  • Cheese Mixture
  • Meat Sauce
  • Un-mixed Cheeses (Mozzarella & Parmesan)

4. Cover the pan with foil and make sure it's not in contact with the cheese. Place the covered pan in a 375 degree heated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover, and bake for another 30 minutes.

5. Let the lasagna cool down at room temperature for 20 minutes. Sprinkle dried parsley and serve.  

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