Sunday, March 10, 2013

Two in One Easy Lasagna...One for Now and One for Later


Ingredients:

Meat Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

6 medium cloves garlic, minced 


1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 pounds Italian turkey sausage, casing removed

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 

1/4 cup half and half

1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

1 tsp dill

1 tsp sugar



Ricotta Layer:

1-15 ounce container part skim ricotta cheese

1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped


2 eggs (optional)

1/4-1/2 teaspoon table salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


2 cups baby spinach (optional)

1 package (8-9 ounces) no-boil Barilla or Ronzoni lasagna noodles

4 cups low fat mozzarella, shredded


1/2 cup cheddar (adds a little more flavor-optional)



Directions:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil in large,frying pan over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add ground meat.  Break meat into small pieces with wooden spoon, until meat loses its raw color but has not browned, about 4 minutes. Add half and half and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates. 

Add pureed and drained diced tomatoes and bring to simmer; stir in herbs and sugar and reduce heat to low and simmer slowly until flavors are blended, about 30 minutes; set sauce aside. (Sauce can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days)

 Mix ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, basil, parsley, eggs, salt, and pepper in medium bowl with fork until well-combined and creamy; set aside.




 Assemble lasagna. Spread 1/4 cup meat sauce over bottom of two 8 inch square pans. (You can also just bake one 13 by 9-inch.) Place two noodles on top of sauce, evenly space 8 tablespoons ricotta mixture over noodles, and spread gently with a spatula; sprinkle ricotta evenly with 1/2 cup mozzarella; spoon 1/2-3/4 cup sauce over cheese. 



Repeat layering of noodles, ricotta mixture, mozzarella, and sauce two more times. Place 2 remaining noodles on top and spread with remaining sauce. Cover with remaining mozzarella, Parmesan, and cheddar (optional).






To Bake One: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover dish with foil that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until sauce begins to bubble around edges, about 10-15 minutes. Remove foil and continue bake until hot throughout and cheese is browned in spots, about 20 minutes longer.


To Freeze One: Wrap 1 square pan with plastic wrap and then cover tightly with foil and freeze for up to 2 months. To Serve: Remove from freezer and place in refrigerator 24 hours before serving. The next day, remove from refrigerator, unwrap pan and cover with foil that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and cover lasagna. Bake 25-30 minutes, then remove foil. Return lasagna to oven and continue to bake until cheese is spotty brown and sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes longer. Cool lasagna about 10 minutes; cut into pieces and serve.

Recipe adapted from: www.cooklikejames.typepad.com