Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lazy Lasagna (You're just going to have to trust me)

What is the number one thing we hate about making lasagna? (you won't need long to think of your answer.)

We hate boiling and fussing with the noodles! They stick to each other, they tear, and they freaking burn our fingers!

I finally broke down and tried the "no boil" method for my lasagna to take to Tennessee last week. I'll admit this was a gutsy move, in that if it didn't work out, I'd be responsible for taking the whole gang out to dinner on Friday night (my designated meal night.) It totally worked out, and I will NEVER boil lasagna noodles again!

I actually doubled this recipe and made two pans. Those throw-away aluminum/plastic covered lasagna pans they sell at the store work great for this recipe.

Lasagna... NO BOIL!

8 lasagna noodles
1/2 lb. very lean ground beef
1/2 lb. lean Italian turkey sausage
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced (I used a red one)
8 oz white button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash of crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
6-8 cups of your favorite jarred pasta sauce (this ended up being 1 1/2 jars for me)
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp fresh italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Soak lasagna noodles in a tray of hot tap water for 15 minutes.

Place ground beef, sausage, onion, and bell pepper in large skillet. Season with salt and pepper and brown until meat is cooked through and veggies are opaque. Drain. Add in mushrooms, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until mushrooms lose liquid, 3-5 minutes. Stir in pasta sauce, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Mix together ricotta, egg, garlic powder, parsley and then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray baking dish with cooking spray. (Use one that is approximately the same length as the lasagna noodles.)

Drain lasagna noodles from soaking water.

Spread approximately two cups of the meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Layer 4 lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Spread with half of ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Cover with another 2 cups of sauce. Layer on remaining noodles, followed by remaining ricotta and mozzarella. Spread remaining sauce over top. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over all.

Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.


stephchows said...

I'm a huge fan of no boil lasagna. Sometimes the top layer of noodles doesn't always cook though... so I've been using thin sliced zucchini to replace the top noodle layer. Super tasty :)

Mags said...

What a great idea! I'm going to try that the next time. A great way to incorporate more veggies too! Thanks for sharing.

katclimber said...

Glad to see the word is getting out about this. I learned about no-boil lasagna several years ago when working in a restaurant kitchen.

A further short cut is that you don't need to soak the noodles at all!! There is the risk, as stephchows pointed out, of the upper level noodles staying a bit crusty/crunchy around the edges. But if you just cook the whole thing a bit longer and cover it with foil for most of the time, usually it turns out great!

Mags said...

katclimber... you've just eliminated another step! This keeps getting better and better!

katclimber said...

One potential downside to the dry noodle approach that I forgot to mention is that if you don't have a lasagna pan that perfectly fits a certain number of whole noodles laid down side by side, it's hard to break a noodle in half to lay flat properly. Because the noodles can't overlap or they might not cook completely.

Cari Snell said...

ey Mags!
I'd love you to join us as a contributer on Dinnervibe! Can you contact me? I can't seem to find your email n the blogger site. Thanks! carisnell@shaw.ca