January 2, 2010 | One Dish Meals, Pasta & Pizza, Popular, Special
I’m big on New Year’s resolutions – whether you call them a goal, a resolution, or as I do, a commitment to myself (and only to myself), they help me focus on the year ahead and determine what’s really important to me. They also helps me slough off those chores and commitments that I realize in the process just aren’t that meaningful. I put them in categories, and tops in the education category this year is how to better use all the features of my fancy Nikon D90 camera to improve my food photos.You’re looking at the first photo I shot after this morning’s class – can you see the difference? This lasagna was photographed without any artificial lights in a fairly dark kitchen, yet it shimmers, don’t you think? I think you’ll notice the difference from the cooking step photos I took prior to the class. So…on with the lasagna recipe, including tips for lightening fat and calories just in case you share my commitment to try to lose a few pounds!A world class lasagna for me starts with a combination of high quality ground beef and some zippy Italian sausage which I brown together before adding marinara to make a meat sauce. I start by layering some sauce then 4 noodles across the bottom in this direction.Then I layer the meat sauce……the ricotta……and the cheeses.I didn’t photograph it, but after that first layer of noodles, I like to lay 6 of them in two rows of 3 in the other direction (across instead of lengthwise) as they happen to fill out the 9 x 13 casserole better this way. Figure out how to line up noodles based on the dimensions of the pan you are using to ensure that the noodles go edge to edge in both directions and overlap a little. Finish the top layer with noodles, plain marinara and mozzarella.Lasagna is good the day you make it, but fabulous after it’s frozen and reheated as the flavors really come together. For that reason, I always make a huge pan, even though there are usually only two of us at home, and freeze the rest wrapped in individual sized portions in plastic wrap. Just reheat in the microwave on a low setting until thawed and heated through.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage (mild to hot as desired)
- 5 cups marinara sauce
- 22 no boil lasagna noodles (about 1½ pounds)
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese (whole milk, part skim, or light as desired)
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
- 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
- Brown beef and sausage together in a skillet over medium high heat until cooked through. Add 3 cups marinara sauce and stir together to combine. Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 glass baking dish. Lay 4 noodles across the bottom, overlapping slightly. Cover with ⅓ of the meat sauce, then ⅓ of the ricotta, ⅓ of the Parmigiano, and ¼ of the mozzarella. Lay 6 noodles on top (two rows of three noodles overlapped slightly) then repeat layering ⅓ meat, ⅓ Parmigiano and ¼ mozzarella. Repeat this layer (with 6 noodles) again, then top with remaining 6 noodles. Spread remaining cup of marinara sauce over the top then cover with remaining mozzarella cheese. Spray foil with cooking spray so it won’t stick, then cover casserole dish tightly. Bake at 375 until bubbly, about 45 minutes to an hour. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.