Thursday, 16 August 2012

Traditional Lasagna

You can use your home made spaghetti sauce to make a wonderful traditional lasagna with only a few adaptions. Some of the kids prefer a simplified lasagna, which omits the spinach and cottage cheese layer, but I love the "real" deal. This is one of those comfort foods which warm you all through, on a cold winter day.

What you need: 1double batch  of spaghetti sauce, diluted with 4 extra cans of water -to make at least 12 cups-, and eliminate the thickener, so it is really runny; dry lasagna noodles - enough to make 4 layers in your pan, - (my pan takes 7 noodles in each layer, so I need 28 noodles); 1 package of frozen spinach or a small bag of fresh spinach leaves; 1 container (500gr) of cottage cheese; 3 eggs; 300 gr of grated Parmesan cheese, divided; 500 gr of mozzarella cheese, grated .

You also need a lasagna pan, or baking dish about 10 x 13 and at least 4 inches deep.

What you do: Thaw spinach if using frozen. Make the tomato sauce. While it is simmering, in a medium bowl, mix the eggs and cottage cheese. Add 100 gr of Parmesan cheese.  If you are using frozen spinach, add it to the mixture, and stir well. In another large bowl, grate the mozzarella, if you bought a block. Be aware that if you buy cheese already grated, it will contain an ingredient to stop it from sticking together - this is usually cellulose, which is another name for gound up wood. I do occasionally use bags of grated cheese, but prefer to grate my cheese at home. Once all your prepped items, (sauce, dry noodles, egg mix, spinach, cheeses) are assembled on your work surface, preheat oven to 350 F. I use uncooked noodles, which is why the sauce is so runny. It provides the moisture to cook the noodles. I have only done this with wheat noodles, so I am not sure it will work with gluten free ones. to be safe you could cook the noodles first and use regular recipe for the sauce. Assembly is the same.

Place 3 cups of sauce on the bottom of pan. Add first layer of noodles, breaking corners to fit if necessary. Add 3 cups of sauce, and second layer of noodles. Add cottage cheese and egg mixture. If you are using fresh spinach arrange leaves on top of the mixture. Add 3rd layer of noodles. Add 3 cups of sauce then last layer of noodles. Add all remaining sauce. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan chees, then all the grated mozzarella. It will be close to the top of the pan.  Cover pan tightly with heavy duty foil. This keeps the liquid content high, so noodles cook, and absorb the extra water from sauce.  Place into oven and cook for 1 hour.  Remove the foil, and place under broiler for a few minutes to brown the top of the cheese. Serve with green salad, and garlic bread.


This recipe freezes well, so leftovers can be cut into single servings and frozen. Alternately, the lasagna can be assembled in smaller baking pans, and frozen before cooking. If you do this, cook the noodles before assembly, and use undiluted version of sauce. 

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