Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cheesy Goodness: Lasagna!

You know it's been too long since you last made lasagna when you stop by the cheese section at the grocery store to daydream.



I got the chance to make lasagna when I was invited to a sleepover (AKA a Qiyam) at a friend's house. When I went shopping for the ingredients, I chose monterey jack cheese, mozzarella cheese, and ricotta. I also picked up some mushrooms for the sauce.


Back at home, I prepared the sauce and sliced the jack cheese while the lasagna noodles boiled.


I also beat the ricotta with a couple eggs. Done with the cheeses.


Next step: layering! Start by spreading some sauce on the bottom of the dish you will be using for the lasagna. This keeps the bottom layer from sticking.


Place some lasagna noodles on the sauce, overlapping them. Cover these with more sauce.


Using a spatula, spread some of the ricotta mixture on the sauce.


Cheeese time :D


Throw on some more noodles.


Spread more sauce! (and cheese)


And the rest of the ricotta..



Repeat: Cheese, lasagna noodles, sauce


Top it off with the mozzarella cheese. I used shredded.


Bake, cool slightly, and serve.



Although putting together lasagna can be really fun, eating it is by far the best part :)




Recipe!

· 3/4 pound lean ground beef
· 1/2 cup minced onion
· 2 cloves garlic, crushed
· 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
· 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
· 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
· 1/2 cup water
· 2 tablespoons white sugar
· 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
· 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
· 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
· 1 tablespoon salt
· 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
· 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
· 12 lasagna noodles
· 16 ounces ricotta cheese
· 2 eggs
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
· 3/4 cup sliced monterey jack cheese



1. Cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. 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. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.


2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.


3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).


4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of the monterey jack cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over cheese, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozarella cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.


5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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