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Wednesday, March 04 2009

If you are looking for a delicious meal for your whole family that is also budget friendly, lasagna is the way to go. Easy to make, filling, and economical, this popular Italian dish is popular with almost everyone that loves Italian food.

Origins

Lasagna is a type of casserole that layers meat, sauce, and cheese. There are numerous variations, including some with spinach and others with white sauce. It was originally known by another name, but over time came to be known as lasagna after the special type of pan used to bake it. Versions of lasagna can be found all around the world. The Greeks make Pastitsio, a type of lasagna that includes large tubular noodles, ground meat, feta cheese, and cinnamon. In Poland there is Lazanki, which uses flat lasagna noodles, cabbage, and bacon.

The following recipe is the more traditional form of lasagna that most people are familiar with, the southern style lasagna. This means that it uses a tomato sauce, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese as part of the recipe.

What You Will Need

In order to prepare your lasagna, you will need to gather a few ingredients if you do not have them at home already. You will want:

• An 8 ounce box of lasagna noodles

• A 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

• A 28 ounce jar of pasta sauce, preferably one with a bold flavor, though any flavor will work

• One pound of Italian sausage

• 15 ounces of ricotta cheese

• 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese

• 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

• ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

• ¾ cup of dry red wine such as burgundy or cabernet

Preparing The Lasagna

Before you get started, you will want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next you will need to prepare the noodles. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling add the noodles and cook for about eight minutes. The noodles should still be slightly firm. Drain on a paper towel and return to the pan. Coat with a little olive oil and allow to cool. To make the sauce you will want to brown the sausage in a large skillet.

Once browned, add in the pasta sauce, crushed tomato, seasoning and garlic powder. Reduce the heat to low and add the red wine. Continue to cook and stir for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Once your sauce is made, you will have to assemble the lasagna. You will need a 13 x 9 pan. Ladle a quarter of the sauce into the bottom of the pan. Layer noodles on top, side by side. Ladle on another quarter of the sauce, and then sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella and a third of the ricotta cheeses. Repeat these steps twice to form the different layers, ending with a ricotta topping. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Allow to set 10 minutes before cutting to serve. If you prefer, the lasagna can be frozen for up to 3 months and reheated as desired.

Anna Fiori writes food related articles for the Italian Traditional Food website at http://www.italiantraditionalfood.com

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 09:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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