Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Best Meat Sauce and Lasanga Recipe

Like I said I've been cooking a lot lately. I've also been watching a lot of cooking shows. Today Rachel Ray is making lasagna, which reminds me to write down my lasagna recipe. By the way, she went from PHAT to FAT.

Also, the cooking show is very bland. I've seen her on food network and it was much more interesting. I think there is too much dead air. Plus you can tell that clapping and laughter from the audience is very forced. Every time she put cheese on something the audience clapped. I like cheese, but come on. Anyhow, I hope she makes some changes with the show.

Here's a Lasagna recipe that I cooked last weekend. It's adapted from a few other recipes. The meat sauce turned out great and could be used for spaghetti. I could have eaten it by itself, in fact I did. A chef's got to taste. I was able to get two pans of Lasagna out of the recipe and froze one of them. However, I think the 9 x 13 baking pan that I used was a tad shallow.

Meat Sauce Ingredients:
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage or pork sausage, I used Tennessee Pride Mild Sausage
1 to 1+1/4 pound of ground beef, just buy a package that's around 1 lb. I like meat so more is better
2 chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic crushed
28 ounces of crushed tomatoes
16 ounces of tomato sauce
12 ounces of tomato paste
1/2 Cup of Water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 tbsp fresh Basil leaves diced (fresh spices are the way to go)
4 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp fresh oregano diced + 1/2 tsp marjoram + 1/4 tsp sage + 1/4 thyme + 1/4 tsp savory (or 1 tsp Italian seasoning)
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Other Ingredients for Lasagna:
30 ounces of ricotta cheese
2 eggs
4 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
1 16 oz pkg lasagna noodles
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese (you may need more)
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese

In a large dutch oven or sauce pot, on medium high heat coat bottom of pot with olive oil. Add chopped onions and crushed garlic to hot oil. In a separate pan brown sausage and beef. Once the onions are cooked, add remaining ingredients to sauce. Drain grease before adding meat to sauce. Allow sauce to simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Remove bay leaves before next step.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, add the lasagna noodles. Cook as instructed on box approx 9-10 min. Strain noodles and rinse with cold water. Lay noodles out onto a plate so that they retain a flat shape, rub olive oil onto the noodles to prevent them from sticking to each other. Cover the noodles with foil if the sauce is not ready.

In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, eggs and remaining parsley. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Now it's time for assembly.

Add and spread evenly the following layers across the bottom of a 9x13" pan:
layer of sauce (approx 2 cups)
lay out 5 noodles on top of sauce
layer of ricotta cheese mixture (approx 1 cup)
layer of mozzarella (approx 1/2 cup)
layer of sauce
layer of Parmesan cheese (approx 1/4 cup)
lay out 5 noodles on top of sauce
layer of ricotta cheese mixture
layer of mozzarella
layer of sauce
layer of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese

Cover loosely with foil. Don't let the cheese touch the foil. The foil prevents the cheese from burning too early. Bake in preheated oven at 375 F for 25 min, uncover and bake for an additional 25 min. Remove from oven and allow lasagna to cool for at least 15 min. The lasagna was still very hot after 15 min.

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