Monday, February 21, 2011


My brother's been here for the weekend and we invited my uncle over for brunch. Since our days were packed with sightseeing and lots of eating out, I didn't have the time to make a meal without shortcuts. I decided to make lasagna, garlic bread and string beans. This sounds more time consuming than it actually was. I worked in advance- blanching my beans and making my sauce on Friday so I was good to go Sunday morning.

I hesitated in the pasta aisle as I grabbed the box of no boil lasagna noodles. If you've had good lasagna with fresh sheets of pasta or good boxed pasta that you need to pre-boil or a discriminating palette of any sort- you must never ever ever make no boil lasagna. Thank God my sauce and filling are extra delicious. They worked to conceal the fact that the pasta was gummy and nothing even close to comparable to the real thing.

I'm still submitting the recipe because the sauce and filling make for an excellent lasagna when you take the time to do it right. I told my mom this story and she laughed, repeating a mantra she often said throughout my childhood "you see Sara, you should never take shortcuts". She's so right.

Having said that, everyone loved it. It really was delicious but you have to use the proper pasta for the best results!

I am writing this recipe with my usual fresh pasta method!

1 package frozen spinach
5 cups tomato sauce
1 cup sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cup parmagianno regianno cheese
3 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup onion finely diced
2 eggs
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
fresh pasta sheets or pre-boil lasagna noodles

Prepare tomato sauce and set aside (see meatball recipe for tomato sauce)
Thaw spinach and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. You can do this in a cheese cloth to help you.

In a saute pan, heat extra virgin olive oil and butter and add onions.  Cook on med-low heat until soft and golden (about 8-10 minutes). In a large bowl, beat the eggs until smooth, add the ricotta, parm cheese and onions. Mix well.

Boil the pasta according to directions. Prep all your ingredients for efficient assembly. Place a large ladle of pasta sauce on the lasagna dish, add the pasta sheets, layer with the ricotta mixture, cheese and a ladle of sauce. Repeat until you're at your last layer. For this layer just add sauce and reserve a 1/2 cup of freshly grated parm cheese and several pieces of mozzarella. Cook the lasagna for 40 minutes at 375. Remove from the oven, top the lasagna with cheeses (it does not need to cover it completely as the cheese will melt and expand in surface area. Pop in the oven with the broiler on high until it's perfectly bubbly and has some charred bits.

I can't help peeking when the broiler's on!



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