I know it has been a while since I last blogged anything so I am going to tell you about the lasagna I made for game night. the rest of the items shall be posted in their own blog.
So every month my best friend Corey hosts Game Night with his Roommate Marcos. As the host, Corey always comes up with something yummy whether it is food or some kind of cocktail, but I always come with something.
This game night was April 24th and I brought a Lasagna, a Bacon and Spinach Quiche and eggplant Parmesan. The eggplant parm was for our friend Patty and I figured that it would be a good challenge for me to make since I HATE eggplant! Patty is a great guinea pig to work with.
So, all had a great time, garlic bread was a great hit and so were the other dishes, except the eggplant. Seems I am not the only one that does not love it. Patty loved it and i sent her home with the rest. Everyone had a great time, Corey can put another successful game night under his belt of many game nights!
So now for the Lasagna. What you will need are the following:
1 pound of lean (80/20) ground beef, browned with a little oregano and garlic in it
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, browned and the grease drained
1 large container of ricotta cheese
3 large eggs
1 – 2 cup package of mozzarella cheese shredded
Olive oil, whatever you have is fine
One whole head of garlic crushed and minced, part for the sauce, part for the garlic bread
3 medium onion finely chopped/diced
3 – 14 oz cans of diced peeled tomatoes, no salt added
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
1/2 box of lasagna noodles cooked al dente (12 noodles will do fine)
Fresh ground black pepper
What you will want to start with is mixing the cheese concoction. Take the ricotta cheese and place into a large mixing bowl, add the 3 eggs, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 of a teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded mozzarella cheese and about 2 teaspoons of the dried oregano. Blend well and set aside.
For the marinara sauce you will take the onions and sweat them till they start to clarify in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once the onions are starting to clarify, add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the garlic. Cook the onions and garlic till the onions have really softened and then add about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dried oregano, the cans of tomatoes, the sauce and about 1/2 of the tomato paste. Let this simmer on medium for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors together. Taste and season as needed.
Browning the meat is easy so I will not explain this part. If you need explanation feel free to ask in the comments.
To start piling on the stuff you will need a 9X13 glass baking dish (metal is ok too), place about 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom to keep the noodles from sticking. Line 3 noodles lengthwise into the pan and then place about 4 tablespoons of the cheese mixture per noodle. Flatten the cheese mixture with a wet hand then pile on the meat. i would say about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of each sprinkled over the cheese mixture should do, then add about 1 cup of the sauce over the meat. Repeat the procedure with the next later till you have gotten about 3 layers on (I usually just do 2 and make a mini lasagna to take for lunch). Once you have put your last layer of noodles on top, spread a little of the sauce, cover with foil and place into an oven at 350 for about 30 minutes. You just need enough time to heat the cheese, get the eggs to bind the mixture and finish cooking the noodles. when there is about 5 minutes left, pull the lasagna from the oven, remove the foil, sprinkle the remainder of the mozzarella cheese on top and place back in the oven for about 5 minutes or the cheese starts to brown.
For the left over sauce, we will use that for the eggplant parm or you can feel free to freeze it. This sauce is great for pasta as well. You can add chicken, meatballs, shrimp, calamari, white fish, etc.
Remove the lasagna from the oven and let stand for about 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. the nice thing about this is there is already a guide line lengthwise where the noodles are laid and all you have to do is make the big slice down each giving you 3 rows, and then slice along the three rows to make about 9 cubes for a dinner and 12 for a party.
If you do not have a deep enough pan to make 3 layers, feel free to make a smaller pan of 2 layers and cook 2 pans. You can never have too much for this, it freezes very well!