Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lasgana Madness

Alex and I have taken to making out own pasta sauce lately. On Friday we had people over for dinner and we made Lasagna so that dinner could be in the oven when they arrived and we could hang out while the food was cooking. We used our new favorite meat sauce recipe for the lasagna. This sauce is thick and chunky and tastes good on EVERYTHING (seriously everything, my favorite use for the sauce is to pile it on top of winter squash, heat it all together in a bowl and then I grate copious amounts of Parmesan cheese over the whole thing).

Oh my god, look at that cheese. Is there anything more amazing than fresh mozzarella cheese?

In the begining this particular sauce definintaly looks like it has too much liquid but after an hour or so of simmering the sauce reduces down to a thick, almost creamy consistancy.

When we assembled the lasgana we used the general method: sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce noodles cheese and so on. Sometimes the old fashioned way is the best way to go.

When I make lasagna I chop fresh herbs and garlic to add to the ricotta. Generally I mix the herbs and garlic into the ricotta and then let it sit together for a bit while I get everything together so the ricotta takes on some of those flavors. I found some amazing basil at Safeway of all places this week so we used that and garlic for the ricotta in this lasagna. The smell of the basil made me ache for summer. This past week our beautiful sunny California has had one of the biggest storms that I can remember, it has been all rain all the time. That basil was the closest I got to sun all week.

Soon enough there will be the occasional dinner that is prepared during the daylight hours. Maybe then not all of our photos will be yellow and lackluster. I think I need to start cooking in the morning in the name of slightly less anemic looking pictures of our food.

I have to apologise for the fact that there are no photos of the cooked lasagna. We pulled it out of the oven and everyone sat down to eat and I totally forgot to take pictures until dinner was over.

I am going to assume that anyone reading this knows how to assemble a lasagna so I'm just going to include the recipe for the sauce.

Meat Sauce

Adapted from Susan H. Gordon's Recipe featured in Rachel Ray Magazine.

  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup pancetta

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 carrot, finely chopped

  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • One 28 ox can tomato puree

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • salt and pepper

In a large heavy pot heat the olive oil over med heat and add the pancetta, cook for about five minutes.

Turn up the heat to medium high and add the carrot, onion and celery, cooking until the veggies are softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute and then add the beef. Break up the beef and cook until the meat is completely browned. Add the wine and allow to simmer until the liquid is cooked off.

Stir in the tomato pure along with a cup of water. Bring to a simmer and add the oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Partially cover and allow to simmer over a low heat while stirring occasionally until thickened. This should take at least thirty minutes, or up to two hours.

Once the sauce is cooked taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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