Saturday, February 6, 2010

Homemade Lasagna

So after watching the documentary, Food Incorporated, I have decided to attempt to make as much of our food from SCRATCH if possible. If you want to know why, you will have to rent the movie because, honestly, I could have a blog just about eating natural and organic! So with that said I thought I would try to make homemade lasagna (I love the Stouffer's brand, but really who knows what all they put in it) Allow yourself about 2 hours to make this dish unless you have a husband that will assist you in the kitchen which then it cuts the work down to an 1 1/2 hours. *this recipe is adapted from the Junior League of Houston cookbook Peacemeals. Awesome cookbook, I highly recommend it.

1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (I used the dried ground up kind, trust me use the real stuff)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, sliced (not really sure what that meant but i just sliced it into thin slices and it turned out fine)
28 ounces canned Italian whole peeled tomatoes (Because I like to follow the rules of the book, I didn't drain the tomatoes since they didn't mention it, but the next time I make this I definitely will as the lasagna was a little too juicy)
6 ounces canned tomato paste
3/4 cup water
4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped (again use the real stuff)
2 tablespoons sugar (Next time I will use just a little bit less sugar as it was fairly sweet)
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
1-1 1/2 pound meat (we used turkey)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

What I wish I had known: using non or low-fat cheese will drastically reduce the flavor.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, egg, and oregano in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Heat the olive oil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat and saute the onions and garlic for 8 to 10 minutes. Mix in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and basil. Blend the ingredients with a potato masher or hand blender until chunky. Mix in the sugar; season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.Rise the lasagna noodles with cold water and drain again. Lightly oil a 9x13 inch baking pan. To assemble the lasagna, spoon 1 cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom of the pan. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles over the sauce. Top the noodles with 1 cup of the sauce, followed by half of the meat, 1/2 cup of the feta and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Layer 3 more noodles, followed by 1 cup of the sauce, the remaining meat, all of the reserved ricotta mixture, 1/3 cup of the feta and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella. Layer the remaining noodles, sauce, feta, and mozzarella. Cover the lasagna loosely with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking. Allow the lasagna to rest for 10 minutes before serving.


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