Happy New Year!!! I missed you all and my beloved Fifteen Spatulas last week, but my week off was well spent vacationing in New Orleans. I’ll post more about my trip on Wednesday, but I must say, NOLA is quite a wonderful place for people crazy about food (and I fully admit to planning all activities AROUND the food).
Lasagna has some serious comfort food potential, but it needs to be done right. If the cooking time isn’t timed correctly, you’ll end up with mushy lasagna noodles cooked to hell and back, which can easily ruin the entire thing. The key is to partially cook the noodles, and let them cook the rest of the way through in the oven. Here’s how to make my lasagna:
Yield: 1 9×13 pan of lasagna
1 lb box lasagna noodles
1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casing
1/2 lb ground beef
2 garlic cloves, smashed
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
2 extra large eggs
6 cups marinara sauce
1 lb bag shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese blend
Bring a big pot of water to a boil, and add a generous amount of salt (the water should taste like sea water). Boil the lasagna noodles in batches (so they don’t stick), for 6 minutes per batch. Remove from the water and lay flat on a baking sheet.
Heat up a skillet over medium high heat, and brown the sausage and ground beef until fully cooked. There should be enough fat in the sausage to prevent sticking, but if you feel you need to, you can add some olive oil before browning the sausage. Remove the meat from the pan and reserve.
Add the smashed garlic cloves to the pan, and saute for 2 minutes. Remove the garlic, then add the zucchini to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Cook the zucchini for a few minutes, until tender and soft, but not mushy. Add a splash of water to the pan, just to remove all the brown bits leftover from the sausage and take them with your zucchini.
Remove the pan from the heat.
In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, and eggs. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Begin building your lasagna. Ladle a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.
Add the noodles on top, then sprinkle on the meat and zucchini. Add the mozzarella and provolone cheese, then repeat the process all over again, building several layers. For the top, end with noodles, sauce, and a sprinkling of cheese.
Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 1 hour, then remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Adapted from Anne Burrell’s Lasagna.