Wednesday, August 11, 2010

For 2: His Favorite - Lasagna

My boyfriend loves lasagna, like it is on his list of top 3 favorite foods.  The idea of noodles, meat and cheese constituting a meal never really struck me as awesome, but he really, really loves the stuff.  I have developed our compromise lasagna; there is a layer of meat in red sauce, but also a layer of zucchini and mushrooms for some redeeming quality.  I use marinara sauce from a jar (gasp, I know) but let’s be honest I have a job and a life and not 4 hours to spend making this meal, and honestly when combined with everything else I don’t think homemade sauce would really make a big difference.  It does take 2 sauté pans, 1 big pot for boiling noodles and the baking dish but all in all the clean up isn’t too bad (thanks to the bf!).  I make the lasagna in an 8x8 baking dish so it is enough for the 2 of us for dinner plus leftovers for lunch, or we sometimes freeze half and then eat it for dinner again in a couple of weeks.

What are your the "compromise meals" at your house?  Do you ever use sauce from a jar?  If one cooks at your house does the other clean?  I love that deal!
Happy Hump Day,

9-10 Lasagna Noodles
2/3 lb Ground Beef
1 C Marinara Sauce
1 Small Zucchini
1 Small Onion
1 C Sliced Mushrooms
3 Gloves Garlic
1½ C Ricotta Cheese
1/2 – 3/4 C Grated Mozzarella
3 tbl Grated Parmesan
Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper

Prepare your pans: one large pot with water to boil noodles, one deep sided sauté pan and one other sauté pan. Bring the water to boil add salt and noodles and boil for 6-10 minutes depending on the package directions; unless you have a giant pot you will have to do this in two rounds. When the first round is finished lay them on wax paper to cool. In the mean time in the deep sided pan brown the ground beef over medium high heat for 6-8 minutes until cooked through season with salt and pepper, add the marinara and reduce to a simmer. Heat the other pan over medium to medium-high heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and chop the onion, zucchini, mushrooms and garlic. I use a mandolin for this but if you don’t have one a small dice with a knife will work just fine. First add the onion to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, when it begins to become translucent add the zucchini and mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes and when they begin to brown add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Give it a stir cook for 2 additional minutes and remove from the heat.

Preheat oven to 350.

Assemble the lasagna: Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of your baking dish (to prevent sticking) and lay down the first 3 noodles to cover the bottom of the pan. Top with the meat and marinara sauce mixture, sprinkle just a little mozzarella cheese over it and then cover with another layer of noodles. Spread the veggie mixture on top of those noodles and then ricotta cheese over the veggies. I have found the easiest way to spread the ricotta without messing up the veggies is to put a big spoonful of cheese in each corner and one in the middle and then spread with a spatuala.  Layer the remaining noodles over the ricotta and then press down on those noodles to make it all stick together. I put the wax paper the noodles were cooling on over the noodles and press down slightly with my hands. I think this makes the lasagna hold it's shape better when served. Finally top it all with the remaining mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of parmesan. Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet (in case it boils over a little) and bake for 35 minutes.

If you desire a browned top layer like I do put it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes after cooking.

Let the lasagna cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh yum! And yes - Marc is pretty awesome at ALWAYS cleaning if I cook. I mean, I help, but I don't even have to ask him and it sort of rocks =)

    Glad to see the boys have learned this from each other!