Largely Lasagne

by The Virtual Chef
Copyright 1994, All Rights Reserved

Lasagne are large broad noodles,  about two inches wide with a ruffled edge.  The
singular form of the word is Lasagna, and the name comes most likely from the Latin
root word, Lasanum, which means Cooking Pot.

Lasagne Casseroles are popular dishes featuring these broad noodles, layered with
cheese, meat mixtures, vegetables, sauces and other goodies. They are rich enough to
make a meal, and are especially nice with a green salad and garlic bread.

For a wine, I lean toward a Chianti, but with a lasagne meal, a nice glass of iced tea can
be quite satisfying, particularly if the garlic bread is very, very garlicky (best way to serve

Hearty Lasagne with Marinara and Sausage

8 oz. lasagne 
1 pound ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C chopped parsley
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. garlic powder
8 oz. Mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 recipe Marinara Sauce (below)
1 lb. Italian sausage, cooked, drained and chopped

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for 25 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally
to prevent sticking. Drain and arrange one layer in a lightly greased Lasagne pan ( 2 1/2
quart size at least). Reserve the rest of the noodles.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs and then stir in the ricoota cheese, the chopped
parsley, the Parmesan cheese, and the garlic powder. Mix well and spoon 1/3 onto the
noodles top with slices of Mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with half the sausage.
Spoon 1/3 the Marinara sauce over that. Add a second layer of noodles and repeat all
layers, using the rest of the sausage. Add a third layer of noodles and spread remaining
ingredients in layers, ending with Marinara sauce. Sprinkle with additional Grated
Parmesan cheese as desired and bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour or
until bubbly in the center.

Marinara Sauce

2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 small sweet green bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 1/2 C Italian plum tomatoes with sweet basil leaf
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 C water
1 C dry red wine
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh basil leaves, minced (1 tsp. if dried is used)
1/2 tbps. fresh oregano leaves, minced ( 1/2 tsp. if dried is used)
1/4 tsps. cayenne pepper

In a deep Dutch oven, saute onions, garlic and green peppers in the olive oil until
onions are translucent. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a
simmer and simmer, stirring often, for 1 1/2 hours. Use in lasagne recipe.

Now, the above is a classic, but the classic just scratches the surface of the lasagne story.
This is a favorite wintertime casserole with my family, which was named by my son
many years ago.

Chickey Lasagney

1 whole broiler fryer
4  C Italian Plum tomatoes with juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 stalk celelry diced
1 bay leaf
pinch of ground thyme
pinch of ground rosemary
dash of cayenne pepper
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt to taste
1/2 pound lasagne noodles
all purpose flour
1/4 c parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 lb. Mozzarella cheese
1/2 C grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large dutch oven, cover the chicken with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a
simmer and cook until chicken is done. Remove chicken from broth and skim fat from
it. Reserve. Skin and bone chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Cook the onion, celery,
garlic and green pepper in the olive oil until onion is translucent. Add tomatoes and
seasonings and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Cook the
lasagne in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until done but still chewy. Drain in
colander, running water over the noodles and then reserving on a kitchen towel to
absorb moisture.
Measure out 1 1/2 C chicken broth. Thicken with flour, blended with a little water, using
2 tbsp. flour to each cup of broth. Add salt and pepper to taste, the pasrsley and the soy
sauce. In a large shallow baking dish, 13x9x2 that has been lightly greased, pour a thin
layer of the tomato sauce. Add a layer of the chicken, top with slices of mozzarella and
then chicken gravy. Repeat layers until dish is full and ingredients are used up. Top
with grated cheese. Put in the refrigerator overnight.
Bring oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place dish in middle of the oven. Bake for
35-40 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. Serves 8.

This next lasagne dish came into being on the evening of a grocery day I never made it
to the store. It is a bit of this and that from the freezer and cupboard, and a lot of milk
that was about to go out of date. It is great, warming, and makes an extra for the
neighbors or a couple of days from now.

Freezer's End Lasagne

8 cups milk
1 clove of garlic, cut in half
3/4 C unsalted butter
1 C flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 white pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 10 oz. packages frozen mixed vegetable, thawed, drained
2 10 oz. packages frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
24 oz. lasagne, cooked, rinsed, drained
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 grated Parmesan cheese

Heat milk and garlic in saucepan over medium heat until milk just begins to bubble.
Remove from heat; discard garlic. Melt 3/4 cup butter in large saucepan over medium
heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes or until bubbly,
stirring constantly. Add hot milk, stirring until smooth; reduce heat. Simmer for 10
minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese and
parsley. Spread 1/3 cup sauce into each of 2 3-quart baking pans. Add mixed vegetables
and broccoli to remaining sauce, stirring to coat. Alternate layers of noodles and
vegetable-sauce mixture in each pan until all ingredients are used. Dot each with 1 tbsp.
butter, sprinkle evenly with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
for thirty to forty-five minutes or until bubbly.

Mushroom Zucchini Lasagna

2 cups sliced fresh mushroooms
1 cup light ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups coarsely shredded carrots
2 cups coarsley shredded zucchini
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
9 lasagne noodles
3 cups Newman's Own Socko Spaghetti Sauce
1 lb. Mozzarrella cheese slices
Parmesan Cheese

Cook the lasagne noodles in rapidly boiling, lightly salted water for 25 minutes or until
tender. Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the
mushrooms, peppers, garlic,  and onions and cook, stirring until liquid has evaporated.
Mix ricotta cheese and beaten eggs in a bowl. Mix half of the mixture with the shredded
carrots and half of the mixture with the shredded zucchini in separate bowls. Spray a
9x13x2 inch casserole dish with nonstick spray. Layer 3 noodles, the carrot mixture and
1/3 of the spaghetti sauce in the prepared pan. Top with 1/3 of cheese slices. Repeat with
another layer of 3 noodles, the zucchini mixture, 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce and 1/3 of
the cheese sauce. Top with 3 noodles, the mushroom mixture, the rest of the cheese and
the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with  Parmesan cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30
minutes or until bubbly and done.

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