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Lasagne for Easter

Lasagne for Easter


By Ren Behan

The best lasagne I ever ate was in the foothills of the northern Italian mountains of Emilia-Romagna in Italy. I remember the paper-thin handmade pasta, layered up with a flavourful slow-cooked ragù of pork and beef, a light, white sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated over each layer and all over the top. A really good homemade lasagne can’t be beaten. It’s the ultimate comfort food, a great crowd-pleaser and it’s perfect for the whole family, especially the kids.

For a truly Italian experience at home, you might fancy having a go at making your own pasta. If not, the next best alternative is to pick up some fresh lasagne sheets from the chiller cabinet. For a Simple Baked Lasagne, start off by making a ragù, which is the meaty sauce that will go between the layers of pasta. The longer you can cook the meaty sauce for, the better, so make this in advance if you can. You can even use leftover cuts of shredded meat from a slow-roast if you have any. Next, make a simple white sauce called a ‘Béchamel’ or a ‘Besciamella’ or follow the steps in the recipe for Jamie’s quick crème fraiche alternative.

The rest of the lasagne making process is really just an assembly job. You can even get the kids to help with layering it all up. Don’t forget to add plenty of grated Parmesan cheese between each layer. The top should have a really good covering of grated cheese, so that when it bakes in the oven, you’ll get a crispy golden topping.

If I don’t have time to make a ragù meat sauce, I make an Italian recipe called ‘Lasagne Gocca D’oro’ which is made with ham and mushrooms – the kids love helping me with that one as they can chop the mushrooms, tear the ham and grate the cheese, too. I also sometimes make a quick meat sauce using really good quality sausage meat, which takes less time to cook than mince. I’m also really looking forward to trying Jamie’s Chicken Lasagne, too. You can watch the video here for some simple step-by-step instructions.

If you’re not a fan of meat lasagne, or you need to feed a crowd including vegetarian guests, try Jamie’s baked Aubergine Lasagne, which uses the soft flesh of a steamed aubergine, flavoured with garlic, thyme, chilli and basil. You layer it up in the same way that you would the simple baked lasagne, adding cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Making a baked lasagne packed with flavour is a guaranteed way to keep the family happy – and don’t be afraid to experiment with fillings. Buon Appetito!


18 Delicious New Ways to Make Lasagna

You'd never guess by looking at this cheesy dish, but each slice clocks in at just 250 calories.

Put a new spin on Taco Night by trading those crispy hard shells for this Mexican-style lasagna recipe.

Anything that only takes 30 minutes to make and can be cooked in a skillet has our names written all over it.

If you have cheese lovers in your family, then we can guarantee they will be licking this lasagna's cheese sauce right off their plates.

Put your slow cooker to work by throwing in all of your lasagna ingredients and letting your Crock-Pot do the rest.

Toss thick slices of eggplant into this lasagna for a juicy, flavorful dish.

This party-ready dip will have all of your guests begging you to share the recipe.

Your search for a fast and simple weeknight dinner stops with this delicious variation by bloggers Kevin and Amanda.

Salsa, taco meat, beans, corn, and olives combine to make a zesty, Mexican-flavored dinner.

Blogger Corey's soup can easily be turned into a vegetarian dish by trading ground beef and beef broth for vegetarian crumble and veggie broth.

Rather than using the traditional method of layering lasagna noodles, make individual servings by putting your filling on lasagna sheets, then rolling them up.


There are many MANY nights that I am craving the cheesy goodness of lasagna. I mean, what’s not to love? All those layers of perfectly savory meat, cheese, and noodles….um, YUM.

I make this recipe A LOT. It’s just so quick to pull together and is perfect for busy weeknights. I use a trick my mom taught me, back when no boil noodles were not readily available, to cut down on time.


Recipe: Making The Cuomo Family Lasagna

At his briefing on March 29th, Governor Andrew Cuomo invoked the Cuomo family kitchens of the past during that day's "dharma talk" (as we've dubbed his "personal opinion" musings). Painting a picture like Don Draper in a boardroom selling you hard on a slide carousel, he weaved together scenes of meal-making in the Cuomo homes over the years—from his grandparents to his parents to his own kitchen, as a divorced dad determined to carry on a Sunday family supper tradition with his daughters.

"You campaign in poetry you govern in prose,” his father Mario once said. He may deny having his sights set on the White House, but Andrew Cuomo is bringing the poetry into his typically prose-filled governing these days.

During the briefing, he told viewers around the nation, "This is disorienting, it is frightening, it's disturbing. Your whole life is turned upside down overnight. To the best you can, you find a way to create some joy. You try to find a silver lining in all of this. How do you break up the monotony? What do you do? How do you bring a smile to people's face?"

His solution: food. And it's not a bad one.

During that day's briefing he went on to describe Sundays in his Italian-American home. "Sunday was family day. We had the big family dinner. spaghetti, and meatballs, and sausages, and my family would all get together and it was a beautiful time. I didn't really appreciate it as a kid, but it was just beautiful. The food was really just the attraction to get people together. You know, everybody talks about how the Italians love the food. That's true, but really they love bringing the family together and the food was the way that people came together, and then you sat at the table and it was just a two, three-hour affair." This went on for a while, and by that evening there were some requests for Cuomo family recipes. I was able to unearth Matilda Cuomo's recipe for lasagna in a 1980s NY Times spread:

I asked my friend, photographer Lee Towndrow, to document the process of making this lasagna over the weekend, and you can click through above for some of his photos of the process. Here's a video showing more—turn it up for satisfying sounds of sizzling meatballs.

He began with this recipe for homemade lasagna noodles, and also shared some thoughts: "I found the sauce to be not enough, I would double the quantities of tomatoes, garlic, parsley and tomato paste—say, 2/3 garlic and 2/3 parsley for the sauce, and then the other 1/3 garlic and 1/3 parsley for the meatballs. Iɽ add a note to finely chop the meatballs, rather than just crush. Crushing leaves chunks that are too big." And for the top, he notes, "I added some sauce and another layer of pasta, as well as some Romano to make a crispy cheesy lid."

Towndrow's tasting notes: "It was pretty good. Not too fussy, tasted a little like what you’d get in Little Italy during the San Gennaro festival. Solid Italian American comfort food."

In the October 1983 NY Times story which featured this recipe, the author notes that Christopher Cuomo (then 13 years old) was a big fan of this lasagna, and preferred it to "almost anything else." That year, as a surprise for his birthday, "Mrs. Cuomo invited several of his friends to Albany and made the lasagna herself — all 90 lbs of it." At the time of publication, there was still some in the freezer. This also gives us a helpful tip for today: if you make this lasagna, make some extra to freeze and revisit as we ride this thing out.


The Best Lasagna. Ever.

I&rsquom sure everyone has his own favorite go-to lasagna recipe, but I&rsquod just like to offer that this really is The Best Lasagna Ever. Growing up, my mom and her friends used to make it for potlucks and gatherings, and part of its appeal is that the ingredients used are totally basic you don&rsquot have to hunt down fresh basil or buffalo mozzarella or Parmigiano-Reggiano or handmade sausage from an Italian mama in old Napoli. Anyone can make this, anywhere, anytime. And it&rsquos the easiest thing in the world.

Aside from the simplicity and availability of ingredients, however, this lasagna is just dadgum good.

I&rsquove made this lasagna for various categories of humans since my mom first scribbled it down for me: men, women, democrats, republicans, scholars, and foreign dignitaries. I even donated two pans to a charity auction once. The overwhelming consensus has always been that it&rsquos "The Best Lasagna Ever," which is precisely what I&rsquove been trying to tell you turkeys. So let&rsquos get started!

The Cast of Characters. See how, um, basic everything is? The recipe even calls for KRAFT Parmesan Cheese, of all things.

In a skillet, combine 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 1 pound hot breakfast sausage, and 2 cloves minced garlic.

You might consider draining off about half the fat. I like to leave some in there, though, because it tastes better and because I&rsquom a naughty girl. Just please don&rsquot be a health nut and drain it all, for pete&rsquos sake.

After that, add two 14.5-oz cans of whole tomatoes, two 6-oz cans of tomato paste&hellip

2 tablespoons of dried parsley flakes, 2 tablespoons dried basil&hellip

And 1 teaspoon salt.

Mix together thoroughly and simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes&hellip

In the meantime, boil a 10-oz package of lasagna noodles. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the water, as well as 1 tablespoon olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking. Cook the noodles "al dente" so they&rsquoll still have quite a bite to them. When they&rsquore finished cooking, drain, rinse with cool water, and lay the noodles flat on a sheet of aluminum foil. That way, they&rsquoll be easier to handle later.

While the meat mixture and noodles are cooking, mix 3 cups lowfat cottage cheese in a bowl with 2 beaten eggs. IMPORTANT: If the thought of cottage cheese makes you want to run out of the house, take heart: you won&rsquot even know it&rsquos there. Ladd wouldn&rsquot touch cottage cheese with a ten foot pole, yet he loved this lasagna so much&helliphe married me.

To the cottage cheese, add 1/2 cup Kraft Parmesan Cheese&hellip

2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Now, go ahead and build your assembly line: meat mixture, 1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese mixture, and cooked lasagna noodles.

Let the assembly begin! Lay four cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan, overlapping as you go.

Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles&hellip

Then lay 1/2 pound of mozzarella cheese slices on top of the cottage cheese mixture. This particular brand of cheese was cut very thin, so I had to double up the slices to make 1/2 pound. Don&rsquot let this throw you off&mdashsome brands are cut thicker, and would only require a single layer of slices. NOTE: I prefer sliced mozzarella, but you can certainly use grated mozzarella if necessary.

With the spoon, make a line through the middle of the meat mixture so you&rsquoll distribute it evenly.

Spread a little less than half of the meat mixture over the mozzarella cheese slices&hellip

Until it&rsquos evenly distributed.

Now it&rsquos time to repeat the process! Add another layer of four lasagna noodles&hellip

And top with the remaining half of the cottage cheese mixture.

Then top the cottage cheese mixture with another 1/2 pound of mozzarella.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 package chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreos), crushed
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1, 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons cold milk, divided
  • 1, 12-ounce tub Cool Whip
  • 1, 5.9-ounce package Instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips, semisweet or milk

Add 36 chocolate cookies to a large zip-top plastic bag and crush, using a rolling pin or meat mallet, until fine crumbs form.

Transfer crumbs to a large bowl. Stir in melted butter. Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 baking dish. Press crumbs into the bottom of pan. Place in refrigerator to chill while working on other layers.

Mix the cream cheese with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons milk and mix well. Stir in 1 1/4 cups Cool Whip. Spread mixture over cookie crust.

In a bowl, combine chocolate instant pudding with 3 1/4 cups cold milk. Whisk for several minutes until pudding begings to thicken. Spread mixture over previous layer. Allow the dessert to rest for 5 minutes so the pudding can firm up further.

Spread the remaining Cool Whip over the top. Sprinkle evenly with mini chocolate chips. Place in freezer for 1 hour or in refrigerator for 4 hours before serving.


Meat Lasagna Recipe

Let one of our classic tomato sauces be the base for a homemade lasagna like no other. Wide noodles are layered with three meats, ricotta, mozzarella, and pecorino cheeses and baked until bubbly. It’s easier than it looks, and everyone will find room for seconds.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Add ground meats, salt, and pepper.

Saute meat until browned, about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Drain and lay noodles on paper towels and pat dry.

Combine the ricotta, 1 cup of grated cheese, eggs, salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon of parsley in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Lightly cover the bottom of an 11 x 16-inch baking dish with Rao’s Homemade® Marinara or Rao’s Homemade® Tomato Basil Sauce.

Arrange a slightly overlapping layer of lasagna noodles to cover the bottom of the dish.

Dot the lasagna noodles with large spoonfuls of the ricotta mixture and ground meats, spread.

Add some shredded mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.

Layer the second row of lasagna noodles, more sauce, ricotta cheese, ground meats, mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan.

Repeat with one more layer of noodles, sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until tile cheese is melted and the bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake until tile top layer is lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.


Covering your lasagn a

One question we frequently are asked is if it is really necessary to cover a lasagna with aluminum foil while it cooks and our answer is always YES – it’s very important!

If you don’t cover it while it bakes, the top of the lasagna will dry out.

We recommend that you cover the lasagna for the first 45 minutes of baking, but then remove the foil for the last 15 minutes so that the cheese on top can melt and slightly brown.

Doing this simple step will give you a gooey, cheesy lasagna every time!


Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
Prepare meat sauce up to 3 days ahead, cover and refrigerate until needed. Assemble lasagne (without cheese topping) up to 2 days ahead, cover and refrigerate until needed. Add cheese and bake as directed in recipe.

STORE:
Refrigerate leftovers, covered, for up to 2 days. Reheat in microwave or cover with foil and heat in 180C/160C Fan/350F oven until piping hot.

FREEZE:
Freeze assembled lasagne (without cheese topping) for up to 3 months. Tightly wrap dish in double layer of food wrap and layer of foil. Defrost for 24 hours in fridge. Add cheese and bake as directed in recipe. Freeze leftovers in airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge and reheat as above.

MAKE AHEAD:
Prepare meat sauce up to 3 days ahead, cover and refrigerate until needed. Assemble lasagne (without cheese topping) up to 2 days ahead, cover and refrigerate until needed. Add cheese and bake as directed in recipe.

STORE:
Refrigerate leftovers, covered, for up to 2 days. Reheat in microwave or cover with foil and heat in 180C/160C Fan/350F oven until piping hot.

FREEZE:
Freeze assembled lasagne (without cheese topping) for up to 3 months. Tightly wrap dish in double layer of food wrap and layer of foil. Defrost for 24 hours in fridge. Add cheese and bake as directed in recipe. Freeze leftovers in airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in fridge and reheat as above.