Friday, April 25, 2014

The World's Best Lasagna

I've made a lot of lasagnas over the years.  Not as many as I have chickens, but many.  I have dabbled with the recipe a lot.  I cooked the noodles before baking them , then I didn't.  I added loads of veggies but found that too watery.  I tried it with varying combinations of Parmesan cheese, ricotta and  mozzarella.  After much experimentation, I feel I have one that I could stand by. 
Now, what makes this lasagna the World's Best Lasagna is the fact that everyone can make it.  The ingredients are quality ingredients but simple in preparation. There are a series of steps to this Italian favorite but they will be worth it. 

1 32 oz Part Skim Ricotta Cheese
1 cup of Whole Cottage Cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package of ground beef or buffalo
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1  15 oz can tomato puree (I use Muir Glen organic puree)
1 24 oz jar of organic tomato sauce ( I use Bertolli, organic garlic and oregano)
1 12oz package of lasagna noodles ( I prefer whole wheat but had organic white on hand)
1 16 oz package of part skim mozzarella cheese, grated

 Get a large pot of slightly salted water boiling.  In the meantime, start by cooking the diced onions in a frying pan with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.  Cook them until caramelized.  Place in a large mixing bowl until slightly cooled.  Add the ricotta and cottage cheeses, eggs, spices and minced garlic.  Mix until combined.  Set aside.  
In the same pan, cook the ground beef or buffalo until browned.  If using beef, drain off excess fat.  If using buffalo, it is very lean and there will be no fat. Add in the jar of tomato sauce and the canned tomato puree.  Cook on medium heat until the sauce has thickened.  When the water is boiling, add in the lasagna noodles and boil until al dente.  Once cooked, drain but do not rinse.  This recipe will make one 9x13 inch tray of lasagna or two 8 inch square trays.  Start your layering. Noodles first to cover the bottom of the tray. You may need to trim the edges to fit the lasagna noodles in just perfectly.  Scissors work great for this.  Then add a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture.  Spread evenly over noodles.  Follow that up with the meaty sauce.  Repeat 2 more times ending with the noodles and a thin layer of sauce on top of the noodles.  Finally add a generous layer of freshly grated mozzarella cheese.  At this point you can cover and freeze for a later date.  This is what I do with one of the 8 inch trays.  Or you can bake it at 375 for 25 minutes.  Then uncover and bake it for another 20 minutes or until the cheese is browned.  Let it cool for about 10 minutes to set.  Cut and serve. 
* I use mostly organic ingredients for this recipe except the cheeses.  They are free from bovine growth hormone but not certified organic.  Our local grocery stores do not carry organic mozzarella, ricotta or cottage cheese.  However now that we have a Trader Joe's in Tampa I hope to be able to make this lasagna 100% organic.   

Ricotta mixture
Naturally lean ground buffalo

I used buffalo. There is almost NO fat run off.

Meaty sauce thickening

Lasagna noodles cooking

Al dente noodles

Layer the bottom with noodles
Spread Ricotta mixture over noodles

Meat sauce after the ricotta mixture

Lastly the MOOzarella

2 x 8 inch square trays
The World's best Organic Lasagna

This lasagna is Dr. Brian and Archer's favorite meal.  Lana has not tried the lasagna yet.  We have a policy of no breads or cheese until after the age of two.  We feel a child's digestive system is not mature enough to handle these products until then.  Lana will be 2 in June.  I will let you know if this becomes her favorite meal too. 
I've heard about this Lasagna...

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