Ashley’s Lasagna

1 (9 x 13) baking dish of lasagna

Equipment:

9 x 13-inch baking dish, sauce pot to cook meat and mix with marinara, colander or paper towels to drain all the fat out of the cooked meat, wooden spoon, rubber spatula for spreading the saucy layers, large sauté pan for mushrooms and spinach for mixing with white sauce, box grater, pot for cooking the lasagna noodles, colander

Fillings:

Meat sauce part:

½ pound ground beef

½ pound ground pork

½ pound ground Italian sausage (not in casings)

2 quarts Marinara sauce (see below for homemade version, or you can use store bought)

White sauce & Veggie Part

2 cups Parmesan Mornay sauce (see recipe below)

¼ pound baby spinach, washed and spun dry

½ pound white button or cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Cheese Parts:

1 (24-ounce) container 2% milkfat small curd cottage cheese

5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups grated parmesan cheese

And of course, lasagna noodles – 1 package (should be 15 noodles), cooked to 4 minutes less than package instructions, cooled and tossed with olive oil so there is no sticking.

preperation_hed

  1. First, make each of the sauces. See recipes below.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  3. Cook all the ground meats in a sauce pot. Drain and remove all the rendered fat. Add the cooked meat to the blended marinara. Set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package instructions – but not the whole time. *Chef’s note: add the noodles to the boiling water one at a time, so they don’t line up and stay stuck to each other. Cool them with running cold water after draining and toss with a small amount of olive oil so they don’t stick together. Set aside.
  5. In a large sauté pan, in a small amount of olive oil, sauté the mushrooms, allowing them to be in a single layer to get some good browning. Add the cleaned baby spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Add the parmesan Mornay sauce and mix well. Set aside.
  6. Now, you are ready to assemble the lasagna.
    1. Spread a thin layer of the meat sauce on the bottom of the pan. Place five of the lasagna noodles in a layer covering the sauce – four lengthwise and one across the top.
    2. Spread a layer of half of the cottage cheese evenly over the noodles.
    3. Cover again with the meat sauce.
    4. Place four of the lasagna noodles in a layer.
    5. Spread a layer of all the spinach, mushroom and parmesan Mornay sauce over the noodles.
    6. Sprinkle with 2 cups of the mozzarella cheese.
    7. Place the last four noodles in a layer.
    8. Spread the rest of the cottage cheese over the noodles.
    9. Cover again with the meat sauce.
    10. Sprinkle the top of the lasagna with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
  7. Bake at 350ºF for a total of one hour. If it’s not browned on top, turn up the oven to 375 ºF for another ten minutes.
  8. Allow the lasagna to cool and set for 15 minutes before trying to cut portions.

Marinara Sauce

Yield: 3 quarts (only need 2 quarts for the lasagna, so save the rest for another dish – this sauce freezes well)

ingredients_hed

1 ounce Olive oil

8 ounces Onion, macedoine diced, ¼ inch

5 cloves Garlic, minced

4 ounces Red wine

1 each Bay leaf

1(#10) can Tomato, canned, chopped in juice

** a #10 can is a commercial size – usually about 7 pounds of tomatoes if buying smaller cans

1 (6-ounce) can Tomato paste

½ bunch Basil, fresh, chiffonade

¼ bunch Parsley, washed, stemmed, minced

To Taste Salt and Pepper

preperation_hed

1. Gather all the ingredients and equipment.

2. In a large saucepot over medium heat, heat olive oil and sweat onions and garlic.

3. Add wine and simmer to reduce by 50%.

4. Add bay leaf, tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 hours on low (DO NOT BURN, CHECK OFTEN).

5. Remove bay leaf and purée with an immersion blender. Add fresh herbs and season to taste.

6. If needed, properly cool leftovers according to food safety guidelines. Label, date, refrigerate.

Parmesan Mornay Sauce

(Yield 2 cups)

ingredients_hed

16 oz. whole milk (plus extra if needed to thin out)

2 oz. white roux (or 1 oz. butter and 1 oz. all-purpose flour)

3 oz. finely grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

preperation_hed

In another sauce pan, heat the butter over moderate heat. Gradually add the flour to the butter to make a roux. Using a wooden spoon, mix thoroughly and cook it approximately 5-6 minutes to make a white roux. Temper the milk into the roux by gradually adding the milk, whisking constantly. Heat to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the proper quality factors of the sauce are achieved. Add 3 oz. of finely grated parmesan cheese. Stir until melted through. Season to taste with salt, pepper. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer.