The Knitting Journeyman

Gathering Up One Thread At A Time As I Weave This Web Of Mine.....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Simple Cheese Lasagna

This is my recipe for some very basic lasagna.
Now, I have tried for years to make the very best tasting lasagna ever for the ex. And I never really liked it any of the times I made it for him. I never liked the chili I made for him either. Or a grand myriad of other things either. Although he always liked everything I made him, according to what he told me and the way he ate everything, I never really felt like I was doing a good enough job. Not compared to his mother. I would struggle with recipes and ingredients. She would go to her kitchen and whip something fantastic up faster than you could wink.

I have been meaning to make lasagna as a thank you for my best friend for weeks now. I bought the stuff to make it a couple weeks ago. The ricotta cheese was not close to its expiration date, but why push it? Plus, my daughter has been asking me to make it for her too ever since she heard that her uncle wanted some. Between the three of us, we all decided that cheese lasagna was the way to go.

I bought about 6 cans of spaghetti sauce, various flavours and styles. I bought a pound of whole milk mozzarella cheese. I bought 4 bags of pre-shredded cheese in a variety of mixes, only one of which was completely mozzarella. I bought two boxes of lasagna noodles. I bought two 15 ounce containers of ricotta cheese, one whole milk and one skim milk.

Do you know I didn’t use most of what I bought? Good thing is we can use it again later on in other recipes.

I cooked the entire box of lasagna noodles. I should have only cooked half of them. These noodles turned out perfectly. I undercooked them. Way al dente. In addition, I left them in the water instead of rinsing them or anything. Nothing stuck to anything else. Not one noodle fell apart, even when I wanted it to since the pan was a steep oval and some smaller pieces would have come in handy. I have never had lasagna noodles turn out this well before.

Ingredients used in this recipe:
Half box of lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
2 cans of chunky spaghetti sauce
2- 15 ounce containers of ricotta cheese
2 bags of shredded cheese (one was mozzarella and one was Italian cheeses mixed)
3 large eggs
handful of various herbs and spices

I will assume here you know how to cook the lasagna noodles.

I put the ricotta cheeses together in a bowl. I added three whole large eggs. I added a heavy dose of my herbes de Provence, a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic with the juice, some basil, some sage and some ground mixed pepper.
I used egg beaters to blend this mix into a lovely consistency. Then I set it aside.

I was a little worried here when the dog refused to even touch the egg beaters when I was done, but she is becoming a very finicky thing in her old age (she’s ten months old now).

I doused the bottom of the baking dish (an oval dutch oven looking thing) with olive oil. I splashed sauce along the bottom and swooshed it around so that the sauce covered the whole area.

I added a layer of overlapping noodles, because the shape of the pan made it necessary to have the edges overlap in places.

I added half the ricotta mixture and smoothed it out over the noodles.

I sprinkled the two shredded cheeses over the ricotta.

I added another layer of overlapping noodles.

I poured the rest of the spaghetti sauce over those noodles.

Another layer of the ricotta, using all of it this time.

Another layer of the shredded cheeses.

Another layer of overlapping noodles.

This time I poured an entire can of spaghetti sauce over the top of everything.

Then I sprinkled the remainder of the shredded cheese over the top.

I covered the dish and put it in a 375 degree oven for forty-five minutes.

After 45 minutes I took the cover off, and let the dish cook for another fifteen minutes.

Then I checked on the dish to see if it was getting too brown – because if it gets too brown the kids won’t touch it. The cheese had melted but had barely begun to turn any colour other than white.

I left the dish in the oven for another 20 minutes with the heat off simply because the kids were playing on the computer and interrupting them when they are both giggling madly together is not a good thing. Moreover, the lasagna was done a lot sooner than I had thought it would be.

E had the first piece, since she swears she’s never tried lasagna before. She did pull out the chunks of tomato, which I expected, but she wolfed everything else down and asked for another piece—not just another piece but a HUGE piece.
N had to watch E eat her first piece before he asked for some. Then he too had another big piece for seconds.
Apparently, the discerning dog desires her food cooked, because she was in heaven eating the bits and pieces left on everyone’s plates.

For me personally, it was the best lasagna I have ever made. And it tasted so good too. 