Monday, October 10, 2011

The Cooking Adventures: Lasagna

Wow, so I realized that I had started this blog a week before my birthday, and almost a month and a half later, haven't posted anything but the original post.  Sorry about that folks! I have been trying to follow through with some of the goals outlined in the first post, and I am going to share with you today my new recipes from last couple of weeks.

The first one is a recipe that I re-tried.  Here is why I decided to give it a second shot.  In the recipe it calls for 7 cloves of garlic.  Before I had never used fresh garlic in any recipe I had tried, and so I put 7 bulbs of garlic was a lot of garlic!  It still turned out okay, but now that I know what the difference between a bulb and a clove is, I thought I would give this recipe a second go around, and it turned out fabulous!  This recipe is for Lasagna, and I found it in a Rachel Ray magazine a few years back.  It takes quite a bit of prep work to get it done, but it turns out fabulous in the end.  Here is the recipe so you can try it too:

7 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds bulk sweet italian sausage
7 cloves garlic - 5 smashed and peeled, 2 finely chopped
2 - 35 ounce cans crushed italian tomatoes
salt and pepper
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
1 pound dried ruffled lasagna noodles
2 pounds ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat, until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Add the smashed garlic to the pot and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour; season with pepper.

2.  Meanwhile, heat the milk in a microwavable measuring cup for 90 seconds. In a medium saucepan melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour, then gradually whisk in the warm milk and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the 2/3 parmigiano-reggiano and season with salt and pepper.

3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, combine the remaining 1/3 cup parmigiano-reggiano, the ricotta, eggs, basil and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

4. Preheat over to 375 degrees. Grease a 10x15 inch baking dish and a 10x15 inch piece of parchment paper. (I didn't use the parchement paper!) Coat the bottom of the dish with tomato sauce. Top with a slightly overlapping crosswise layer of lasagna noodles. Layer with half of the cooked sausage, 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, half of the ricotta mixture and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Arrange another single layer of noodles crosswise in the dish. Spread evenly with the white sauce. Layer with more noodles, the remaining sausage, 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce, the remaining ricotta mixture, half the remaining mozzarella, a final layer of noodles, and the remaining tomato sauce. Top with the prepared parchment, greased side down. Cover with foil, place on baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Discard the foil and parchment; top with remaining mozzarella and bake for 15 minutes. Let stand before serving.

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