“Once again, my life has been saved by the miracle of lasagna.”
‘Garfield’ (Jim Davis)
Lasagne, with loads of ooey-gooey cheese is a classic comfort food, especially on a cold winter’s day. But, how many of you opt to run to the grocery store and buy a frozen lasagne when you get a hankering for it?
Really, lasagne is quite simple to make. The ease is all in the preparation of ingredients. And a few of them can be bought already prepared.
For instance, oven-ready noodles are actually pretty good. A variety of cheeses can be bought already shredded or grated. But there’s one main ingredient that you really ought to step out on the ledge and make it fresh. And that, my friends is the sauce.
Here’s why: If you read the label on a jar, or can, of already prepared tomato sauce, you will see words that you probably have never heard of. A lot of these words are preservatives and additives you shouldn’t put in your body. These are chemicals and too much sugar.
What would you say if I teach you an easy, and fresh, tomato sauce that tastes just as rich (if not more) than the best bottled sauce? You will still have the pleasure of purchasing a prepared tomato substance in a bottle, but it has only 2 ingredients: Tomatoes and Sea Salt.
Strained tomato is even cheaper than a jar of prepared sauce. When put together with the following ingredients, your sauce will be a major hit around the dinner table.
So let’s get started. We’re going to make the best red lasagne with three cheeses and meat sauce.
Here’s what you need:
- 1 bottle strained tomato
- Pure virgin olive oil
- 1 lbs of ground turkey (or ground meat of choice)
- vegetable or beef bouillon
- dried rosemary
- dried oregano
- either fresh garlic or powdered
- sea salt
- your favourite hot sauce or ground pepper
- a box of oven-ready noodles
- 2 balls of mozzarella cheese
- 1 container of cottage cheese
- 2 eggs
- grated parmesan cheese
First – make a meaty tomato sauce:
This sauce can be made even days before you use it. And it freezes well.
- Brown 1 lbs of ground turkey (beef or pork work too) in a well heated sauce pan.
- Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil in the pan first, then with your hands, crumble the ground meat and drop it on the oil.
- Keep breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon so it is well-minced and browned (but not fully cooked).
- Empty 1 whole bottle of strained tomato into the pot.
- For a good Italian-style tomato sauce, it’s important that it is a little on the runny side, rather than thick. Swish the bottle with 1 and 1/2 cups water and add it to the pot.
- Add 1 Tbsp garlic powder or 3 – 4 fresh cloves garlic.
- Add 1 Tbsp either brown or white sugar – try coconut sugar for a healthier choice – (a little sugar helps solidify the sauce bringing all ingredients together and it reduces the acidity of the tomato).
- Add 1 cube vegetable or beef bouillon (just squished up between your fingers).
- Add 1 tsp each:
- dried oregano
- sea salt
- Siracha chili sauce or any hot pepper (cayenne, chili powder, Tabasco, etc ..)
- Stir well and cover the pot.
- Simmer for 45 mins on low-medium heat – stir often.
While the sauce is cooking, prepare the following:
- Grate 3 to 4 cups of mozzarella cheese
- Combine 1 container of cottage cheese with 2 eggs and 1 tsp each: Oregano and garlic
- Set out your parmesan cheese
Layer the lasagne like this:
- 1 ladle of sauce on the bottom of a 13″x9″ baking dish
- lay 3 oven-ready noodles side by side in the middle of the dish
- Spread 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture
- Add a fist-full of shredded mozzarella
- Sprinkle 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- finally drizzle a full ladle of meat sauce over top
Repeat for a total of 4 layers.
The top layer:
Save the best for last… this layer needs twice (or three times more if you adore your cheese) the amount of mozzarella cheese. To achieve the ooey-gooey stringy cheesiness, completely cover the cheese with meat sauce.
The sauce is the star of this show and it covers your cheese like a warm blanket keeping the mozzarella moist.
- Cover your lasagne pan tightly with FOIL.
- Sit the dish on a flat metal baking tray in case it spills over the sides.
- Preheat your oven to 350º.
- Bake for 60 minutes – uncover for the last 10 mins.
Let your lasagne sit for at least 5 or 10 minutes before cutting into servings and enjoy!