Deep into winter the hankering for a heartier meal that was going to get me through those cold winter nights appeared. A friend of mine had just joined a food co-op and given me some fresh ground beef so I decided to put it to good use. Lasagna, that food staple so beloved by Garfield the cat. Lasagna is all about construction and it’s really not that difficult to make with some practice. I keep trying out different cheese combinations so I can get just the right flavor. I hope you enjoy.
• 1 lb. dried lasagna noodles
• Olive Oil
• 1 lb. fresh beef*
• 1 onion chopped
• 3 cloves garlic minced
• 2 fresh basil leaves
• 1 orange pepper, diced
• 1 red pepper, diced
• 1 green pepper, diced
• 1 tsp. oregano
• 2 cans diced tomatoes
• 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 2 quart ricotta cheese
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
• Salt and pepper
• Your choice mozzarella, pecorino Romano cheeses
• Grated Parmesan and or mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the lasagna noodles in salted boiling water until tender.
Add oil to a large skillet then add garlic and onions and cook until translucent. Add peppers, basil, and oregano. Simmer and stir until soft. Add beef and brown until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper. Add tomatoes and liquid last.
In a separate mixing bowl combine ricotta, Parmesan, and other cheeses. Stir in eggs and season with salt and pepper.
1. Assemble your lasagna by coating the bottom of a 13x9-inch pan with olive oil.
2. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise and slightly overlapping on bottom of pan. Cover with sauce from the beef mixture. Then line each end of the pan with noodles (I learned that from watching Tyler Florence).
3. Place 1/2 the ricotta mixture over the pasta, then spread to the edges with a flat spatula. 4.Spread 1/2 the meat over the pasta and spread out to the edge of the pan.
Repeat this process until your entire meat filling is gone.
Top the last layer with a little sauce, the shredded mozzarella and the Parmesan.
Bake for 1 hour then remove from oven. Let lasagna rest for about 15-30 minutes so the ingredients stick together so you can cut nice neat squares.
Mangia and enjoy with you favorite vino.
*I used fresh local beef from a nearby farm for the hamburger