Sunday, August 12, 2007
In praise of pasta
I've mentioned several times here that I'm a big fan of Tinkyada's line of pasta. Today, our good friends Paula and Steve were coming to dinner, and I had a craving for lasagna.
Pictured above is what is left of the pan of lasagna I made. It's so true -- if you didn't know if wasn't traditional pasta, you'd never know with this Tinkyada Pasta product. . That, and it is the EASIEST pasta I've ever worked with. I'd recommend it even if you don't eat GF food!
Everyone has a lasagna recipe, right? If not, here's one that is based on my Italian family's recipe.
ITALIAN SAUSAGE STUFFED LASAGNA
Prepare pasta: Boil a large pot of salted water and add Tinkyada lasagna noodles; boil for one minute, turn off the heat, cover the pan, and wait 10 minutes. This provides the perfect al dente pasta for stuffed lasagna. Rinse in cold water and drain and dry over side of colander.
Sauce for lasagna
One tube Jimmy Dean Italian Bulk Sausage
a generous pinch of red paper (adds heat -- you can leave it out)
one chopped onion
One pound chopped mushrooms
six cloves of garlic chopped
1/8 c. Penzys Italian Dressing Mix OR 1 envelope Good Seasons Zesty Italian Dressing Mix or Italian herbs, fresh or dried, like oregano, basil, tarragon, and the like (This was my mother's "secret" to sauce. I love it.)
four fresh chopped tomatoes or 28 ounces drained diced tomatoes
32 oz (one quart) of spaghetti sauce, your own homemade leftover or jarred (today I used Muir Glen Four Cheese Sauce)
This will make enough for one large pan of lasagna with a container of sauce left over for another meal:
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil til tender; add sausage and cook til no longer pink. Drain and add mushrooms and tomatoes, seasoning, and red pepper. Add sauce and simmer one hour. Turn off heat and left meat sink to bottom of pan. That makes the first layer easy, (Clearly, if you have leftover homemade sauce, which I usually use, crumble up the sausage, pick out the meatballs, and reheat.)
Cheese layers for stuffed lasagna:
2 cups shredded Italian cheese mix (Sargento is GF)
1/2 sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
1 container fresh ricotta cheese, NOT FAT FREE
1 T. Mrs. Dash Herb and Garlic mix, or garlic powder and italian seasoning.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta and 1/2 cup shredded cheese, add eggs and herbs set aside.
Optiona second layer: Four sliced hard-cooked eggs; 8 sliced or chopped cooked meatballs; 1 cup shredded roasted chicken, tossed together in a bown.
You have enough noodles in the package for three layers with a layer of pasta on top and on bottom. Save three of the prettiest ones for the top. I got very little splitting and tearing from this product. Tonight I only made TWO layers, thus leaving out the eggs, meatballs and chicken. But it's a nice special additional layer.
Layer one: Ladle sauce without too much meat in it on the bottom of 13 by 9 by 2 pan. Make this a light smear of sauce. Put three noodles on top of this. Add 2/3 of ricotta mixture, then top with a layer of sauce; top with another three-noodle layer.
(Note: The optional second layer here is a layer of eggs, meatballs, and sauce. Top with three more noodles.)
Next layer: Add 1/3 ricotta cheese mixture and top with all the sliced mozzarella. Add a layer of meat sauce and top with three more noodles. To end, top with a thin smear of sauce and the rest of the grated cheese.
Note: If you use the optional middle layer, USE A DEEPER PAN. Use at least a 13 by 9 by 4 or 5 pan for that.
Cover the finished lasagna with foil and allow to rest (if possible) for six hours or overnight if you can. Before baking, tent the foil (so the cheese won't stick) and bake at 350 for one hour. Remove cover and bake 15 more minutes til bubbly.
I served this with Caprese salad: Layered tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella topped with the balsamic vinagrette of your choice. Allow the salad to marinate at least one hour before serving. I also made sauteed fresh spinach. For desert, we had fresh fruit and Pamela's Peanut Butter GF Cookies.
Kudos, Tinkyada -- you make this italian girl SO HAPPY. Someday soon I'll post my mac and cheese recipe...it adapted beautifully, too.
Much love and are you hungry yet?