Who has the best lasagna recipe?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by eveenend, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. eveenend

    eveenend

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    I've had several different lasagna recipes over the last couple of months but none of them have really hit the mark. Does anybody have a highly recommended recipe for me to try? The ones I've enjoyed the most so far have had spinach in them - it seems to add a lot of flavor...though I'm not restricted to ones that have it.

    Thanks in advance,
     
  2. cjdacook

    cjdacook

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    O.K., you asked for the best - not the fastest nor the easiest, right???:)

    I got this from a friend a long time ago and it's the best I've ever made - takes most of the day, but must admit, I do cheat every so often and buy the noodles....:eek:



    Dan's Lasagna

    Ok, this is all from scratch and takes all day. The results are worth every morsel and this is the one dish my family keeps asking for on special occasions when the meal is important.

    The pasta and sauce takes up most of the time. The sauce is key to the success of any Italian cooking and good sauces take long simmering times to really develop that rich, deep flavor. The result will be a very delicate Lasagna with pasta that literally melts in your mouth. The Portobella flavor enhanced with the sweetness of the sausage is delightful. And with the marriage of Ricotta and Mozzarella, well how can you go wrong?

    Grocery List:
    2 lb. Mozzarella (2 Lg balls)
    2 lb. Ricotta
    4 cups all purpose flour
    4 Large whole eggs
    4 15 oz. cans Tomato Sauce
    1 14.5 oz. can whole tomatoes
    1 lb. ground sirloin
    2 Bay leaves
    5 Cloves Garlic
    3-4 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
    1 lb. Italian Sausage (mild is assumed, but hey it's your lasagna)
    1 small Spanish onion
    1/2 lb. Portobello Mushrooms (small caps)
    1 Tbsp Olive Oil
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The Pasta:
    Ingredients:
    4 cups all purpose flour
    4 Large whole eggs

    Simple pasta, rule is 1 cup flour, 1 egg. To make 9x13 pan and 9x9 pan of Lasagna, you need 4 cups flour with 4 eggs (This should yield 4 pasta layers)
    Put flour on a board and make a well to support 4 eggs. Mix using a fork until the dough forms. Separate into 4 balls and wrap them in vinyl wrap to keep moist. The Using your pasta machine, start on the coarse setting and knead. When it passes through tri-fold the results and pass through the machine the opposite direction. After 4-5 passes, change the setting to 3 (mid-way) and put pasta through several times without folding. Then Set it to 1 (thinnest) and pass through 3 times and set aside cut to clean lines. Work through all your dough, until there are several sheets and after it dries some, refrigerate on a covered sheet pan. You should finish with about 24 sheets.
    (Tip: Your pasta sheets should be 1/3 the width of the pan and as long as the pan in uniform shapes. Also this is a very dry mix so it may be required to sprits with a little water but use very sparingly)

    The Sauce:
    Ingredients:
    4 15 oz cans Tomato Sauce
    1 14.5 can whole tomatoes
    1 lb. ground sirloin
    2 Bay leaves
    4 Cloves Garlic (happier = more)(depending on my audience I've used a whole bun)
    3-4 Tbsp Italian Seasoning

    Using a 4qt sauce pot, combine the Tomato sauce, Italian Seasoning, Bay leaves. Rinse the seeds from the whole tomatoes and break into pieces using your hands and put into the pot. Cover pot and heat on medium - medium high until it starts to boil (careful not to heat to quickly as it will burn the bottom) and then reduce until the sauce is simmering cocking the lid so steam can escape. Add the ground sirloin crumbling it into the sauce and continue cooking.

    A good pasta sauce will take a minimum of 3-4 hours to cook. You cannot rush this process, and I like to have mine cook for a minimum of 4-5 hours. During this time you will want to stir every 10 minutes. This is a base sauce and you can finish it of course with different variations, such as adding a little red wine, a touch of cream, etc.

    Ok, now we're really on a roll, sauce is cooking down and you should notice it thickening. Your sauce line on the pot is a guide as it should reduce at least 1" from the original line. After 3 hours the sauce should be tasted for texture and flavor. Adjust with seasoning (no salt) by adding more Italian Seasoning if needed.

    Time for the filling:
    Ingredients:
    1 lb. Italian Sausage (mild is assumed, but hey it's your lasagna)
    1 small Spanish onion
    1 Clove Garlic
    1/2 lb. Portobello Mushrooms (small caps)
    1 Tbsp Olive Oil

    Prepare onion by dicing and mushrooms should be sliced thin. In a medium skillet heat olive oil over medium heat and toss in onion stirring until onion becomes translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms and stir for one minute more. Add sausage and break big pieces up while stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low after 3-4 minutes and cook while stirring occasionally.
    You want to remove as much moisture without burning. When cooked drain as much fat away as possible. Drier is better. Cover to keep warm.

    Tired yet? We're on the home stretch! You need to heat up a stock pot with salted water for blanching the pasta. Once your boiling water is ready, we can assemble the Lasagna. Using a ladle put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Taking one sheet of pasta at a time dip 3/4 of the sheet into the stock pot while holding and after 10 seconds turn it around and dip the other side. The pasta is too delicate to cook traditionally.

    Arrange 3 sheets to make bottom layer and then put a teaspoon full of Ricotta spaced (about 4/sheet). Put a slice of Mozzarella over each dollop of Ricotta and press slightly. Then take some sausage mixture and scatter over the layer. Finish layer by adding a thin layer of sauce. It is important to note you need to cover the entire layer so the pasta doesn't dry out during cooking.

    Repeat this 2 more times and top layer should be pressed slightly (spatula works well) to even out the pan, finish with a layer of sauce and a few Mozzarella cheese pieces.
    (Tip: When placing Ricotta on the sheet, the next layer should be offset from the previous. This will give the Lasagna a more uniform distribution of ingredients. Slicing Mozzarella by quartering first will give you uniform slices and it's easier to get thin slices.)

    Cover pans with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees.Plates should be finished with a dollop of sauce and a good cheese of choice grated on top.
    Enjoy!
    Serve with a salad, good bread (for mopping up the sauce!), a bottle of nice red wine, and good company
    salad, good bread (for mopping up the sauce!), a bottle of nice red wine, and good company (btw: This is 10'x better the next day, so you can prepare a day ahead)
    Ciao,
    Dan.
     
  3. eveenend

    eveenend

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    Wow cj that looks fantastic. The Italian sausage has me hungry right now! Thanks!
     
  4. mudbug

    mudbug

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    eveenend,

    In addition to trying Dan's recipe, your best best is to go to a place like allrecipes.com where the recipes are reviewed by those who try them.

    Here are only a few of the highest rated out of the 140 lasagna recipes there, and you can narrow your search to ingredients you want or do not want. Be sure to read the reviews as they usually contain improvements:

    Bob's Awesome Lasagna
    Seafood Lasagna II
    Four-Cheese Vegetable Lasagna
    Spinach Lasagna III
    Creamy Chicken Lasagna
    Cajun Chicken Lasagna
    Simple Spinach Lasagna
     
  5. mangilao30

    mangilao30

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    Have you tried to make lasagna with besciamella, use classic Bolgnese ragu with bechamel. That is what they do in many parts of emilia romagna and it is very good. It's where lasagna was invented.
     
  6. cjdacook

    cjdacook

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    "use classic Bolgnese ragu with bechamel" - yes, isn't it a wonderful dish!!