Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lasagna liquid!
I finally solved my watery lasagna problem and I feel like a kid on Christmas morning! Maybe you haven't had this issue, but I can't tell you how many lasagnas I've made that leaked all over my plate (or worse, my guests' plates) and left a huge puddle in the pan where the removed slices used to be. 

I tried letting it rest, making thicker sauce and even straining the ricotta overnight in cheesecloth, but still, watery! This time I used no-boil lasagna noodles and finally, the perfect lasagna (not to mention easier to make without having to boil the noodles).
Yield: 6-8 servings

15-16 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 1/4 cups homemade meat sauce (see recipe below, can be made without the meat)
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
3/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1.      In a bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, parsley, and salt.
2.      Preheat oven to 375º F.
3.      To assemble:  Spread 1 3/4 cups sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

  Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce.
  Spread with half of the ricotta cheese mixture.
  Top with a third of the mozzarella cheese.
  Spoon 1 3/4 cups meat sauce over mozzarella.
  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

  Repeat above.

4.      Cover with foil.  Bake for 25 minutes.
5.      Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes (top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese 15 minutes before done).
6.      Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

I don't recommend assembling the lasagna too far ahead
of time when using no-boil noodles, they get too soft.
ricotta layer
sauce and parmesan layer
no liquid on the plate either!

 ▪   ▪   ▪

Yield: 8 cups (2 quarts)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
4-6 fresh basil leaves
2 dried bay leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ lb. Italian sweet sausage, casings removed
1 lb. ground beef

1.      In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.
2.      Add celery and carrot and season with salt and pepper.  Sauté until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
3.      Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and reduce the heat to low.  Cover the pot and simmer for 1 hour or until thick.
4.      Remove bay leaves and puree sauce with an immersion blender until smooth.
5.      In a skillet, brown the sausage and beef, breaking it up with a spoon.  Using a slotted spoon, add the meat to the sauce (skip this step to make vegetarian).  Cook for another 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.
6.      Season with salt and pepper to taste.

blending (before the meat is added)


Randi said...

There you go! Getting all thunderstick again.

You can just let it bake it longer until all more of the liquid has evaporated. Definitely, let it rest. Hard to do. But also saves you from some nasty burns in your mouth.

Elizabeth (Foodie, Formerly Fat) said...

Those no boil noodles are the bomb! I was so wary of them for years but I've been a hard core convert for a while.

The plated lasagna is beautiful! We should do an Iron Chef style face-off sometime where we have to make the same things. We have so many of the same items in our repertoires. Adam and Chuck would be in heaven!

Susan said...

Bring it! I think that would be fun...who should pick the secret ingredient?

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