Wednesday, August 4, 2010

National Food Holiday: Lasagna

National Food Holidays,
seem to be getting more and more attention on our site, strictly because of what they are bringing to the publics attention; Classic Recipes that often get overlooked because of their complexity.
Well leave it to us to detangle all of the myths and lies that surround both loved and loathed recipes, such as  today's "National Food Holiday" for instance, Lasagna.

Lasagna is a hearty dish that leaves everyone stuffed to the gills, unbuttoning pants and searching for a quiet place to nap after it has been consumed. The problem with Lasagna is that not everyone knows how to whip up a pan worth its weight, and because of that fact people are scared to approach it.
This recipe is a classic in our kitchen, tried and true numerous times and even has been requested to be used at a few local mom and pop Italian spots around town. 
Enjoy this recipe with your family, make it and take it to your Grandparents house and enjoy some stories about their youthful days or impress a crowd of your friends who thought you didn't have it in you to pull off such an old world staple.
This recipe is sure to evoke classic memories of long gone childhoods and times passed as well as to help bring to life some new found great moments with your loved ones.
2 lb Dried Lasagna Noodles
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 lb Ground Beef
2 lb Ground Turkey
1 Onion, Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Sliced
3 Carrots, Chopped
2 Stalks Celery, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil
¼ Cup Finely Chopped Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley
1 TBS Chopped Oregano Leaves
2 TBS All-Purpose Flour
2 Cups Red Wine
2 (28-oz) Cans Tomatoes (Recommended: San Marzano)
3 TBS Heavy Cream
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 Quarts Ricotta Cheese, (2 Containers)
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
½ Cup Grated Parmesan
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 lb Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
Grated Parmesan And Mozzarella, For Topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the lasagna noodles in plenty of boiling salted water until pliable and barely tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking.
Drain the noodles thoroughly and coat with olive oil to keep them moist and easy to work with.

Coat a large skillet with olive oil, add beef and sausage and brown until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.
In a food processor, combine the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, parsley, an oregano. Process until pureed, add to the pan with the ground meat and stir to combine.
Stir in the flour.
Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by half.
Stir in the tomatoes and add the heavy cream and the cinnamon.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta and the parmesan.
Stir in the eggs and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the lasagna:
Coat the bottom of a deep 13 by 9-inch pan with olive oil.
Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise in a slightly overlapping layer on the sauce.
Then, line each end of the pan with a lasagna noodle.
This forms a collar that holds in the corners.
Dollop 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta, spread to the edges with a spatula. Spread 1/2 of the meat mixture over the ricotta.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta.
Top with a ladle full of sauce, spread evenly. Repeat with the next layer of noodles, ricotta, sauce, and cheeses.
Top last layer with noodles, sauce, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan.
Tap the pan to force out air bubbles.
Bake for 1 hour.
Remove from oven.
Let lasagna rest for 30 minutes so the noodles will settle and cut easily.
Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.


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