Lasagna Night

Lasagna

My daughter announced the other day that she had just finished her 15th day of school. I was stunned. I could have sworn we had been back in the school routine for at least 3 months.

Since the beginning of September life has been a whirlwind of family activity revolving around school, carpool, activities, homework, dinners, entertaining and birthdays. As the children have grown older, it seems that time has sped up even faster with more and more commitments to attend to, including my work. I’ve already lost track of days, my car keys, a pair of flip flops and multiple shopping lists.

Yesterday was another blur, when at the end of day the inevitable question “What’s for dinner?” was directed to me and drew a blank stare. Luckily I had a stash of ricotta in the refrigerator, along with lasagna sheets in the pantry. A quick tomato sauce was easily prepared, and with a little assembly accompanied by a glass of red wine, a homey lasagna was produced to the satisfaction of all of us.

Lasagna

This recipe creates a dry and hearty lasagna, with little excess liquid and chunks of vegetables in the tomato sauce. If you prefer meat in your tomato sauce, add 1/2 pound browned ground beef along with the tomatoes. Serves 4-6.

For the tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 sweet red pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 – 28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes with juices
1 small can tomato paste
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the ricotta filling:
1 pound fresh ricotta
1 large egg
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the lasagna:
1 pound dried lasagna sheets
Fresh mozzarella, grated
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Prepare the sauce:
Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrot, red pepper and saute until the onion wilts, about 4 minutes. Stir in basil and oregano and saute one minute. Add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, bay leaf and wine. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper and taste to adjust seasoning.

Prepare the ricotta filling:
While the sauce is simmering combine all the filling ingredients in one bowl and mix well.

Assemble the lasagna:
Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.)
Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce in bottom of a deep baking dish. Lay a layer of dried lasagna sheets over the sauce, breaking the pieces if necessary to fit. Spread a layer of ricotta lightly over pasta.  Drop spoonfuls of the tomato sauce over the cheese without covering the sauce (or the lasagna will be very wet). Evenly sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering process until the last amount of ricotta has been used. Top the ricotta with tomato sauce and cheese. Bake in oven until bubbly and turning golden brown, about 45 minutes.

16 responses to “Lasagna Night

  1. Pingback: e

  2. Yum. I love lasagna and we’re always trying to figure out how to cut back on the liquid when we make it. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

  3. Now that it is cooler, I’m SO ready for pasta suppers – your recipe looks terrific!best, Liz

  4. I like lasagna for weeknight meal! It is easy to make and generally liked by all.
    I like ricotta cheese that you put in the recipe! Love it.

  5. That just looks so delicious and perfect! I stumbled it. GREG

  6. Thanks for the comment, Liz. Wish we were enjoying cooler weather right now.

  7. Greg – thanks for visiting and thanks for the stumble!

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  12. This lasagna is perfect! Comforting and light at the same time. The recipe has the perfect amount of cheese and liquid without being runny at the end. The lasagna sheets are the best and definitely make it a weeknight meal. I am keeping this in the rotation.

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