Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lasagna al Forno

For me, lasagna ranks right up there with my other favorite comfort foods; pizza, arroz con pollo, spaghetti/meatballs, nachos and hot fudge sundaes. When we ventured home from college for a long weekend, that's what we'd request for dinner. Momma G's lasagna can't be beat.

This recipe hit my inbox last week and it looked like a creamy, tasty twist on an old classic. I made some tweaks to make it a bit lighter and more garlic-y. It's really easy to put together, but it does take some time. It would be a great make-ahead meal since it takes approx. 30-40 mins to cook. Vi ate a handful of black beans, a piece of toasted bread, and two steamed mussels (rich's appetizer for the eve) while waiting. She even agreed that it was worth the wait. And she's 4.


Lasagna al Forno


Heat in saute pan:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter


1 large carrot chopped fine
2 stalks celery chopped
1 med onion chopped fine

Simmer until very soft: 5-7 mins


3 cloves garlic minced

Saute for 2 mins and add:

1 lb ground beef (I used organic - it's far less greasy than non-organic)

When brown, add:

1/3 cup red wine (or chicken broth)
1 can diced tomatoes
pinch of dried oregano and dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook as long as you have time for (I cooked mine for about 45 mins. Could cook for up to 2 or so hours to intensify the flavor. If you cook this long though - salt after it's reduced.)

While the ragu simmers, prepare the cream sauce:

Cream Sauce

Melt in sauce pan:

4 tbsp unsalted butter
Add - 1/4 flour

Let cook for 1 min - whisking constantly - then:

Add 1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk

Whisk on high heat until it comes to a boil

Lower to a simmer and add:

1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated parm
sprinkle of garlic powder
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg

Turn off heat and whisk until smooth

Build the lasagna:

Ladle some of the cream sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place three Barilla no bake lasagna noodles side-by-side. Spoon half of the ragu, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Top with more noodles, white sauce, ragu and more mozzarella. Top with noodles and the remaining white sauce, sprinkle heavily with grated parm.

Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 for 30-40 mins, until noodles are soft. Remove foil and bake 10 mins longer (throw on the broiler if not brown enough on top). Let it sit for at least 10 mins before serving.

Enjoy the rest of the wine. ;)