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December 11, 2017
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community living

There’s nothing like lasagna!

As a variation, and because there was lovely broccoli rabe in the garden and some hot Italian sausage in the “use immediately” meal aisle bin, I made my first-ever broccoli rabe and sausage lasagna. It’s served here with Stephen’s garden salad with tomatoes, sliced olives and a vinaigrette.
TRR photo by Laurie Stuart

By Laurie Stuart

Husband Stephen was excited when he presented me with the sales flyer from Pete’s Market in Narrowsburg, NY.

“Look,” he said. “It’s an Italian Festival.”

Italian food, and particularly pasta, is one of my favorite comfort foods. When I was a kid, and got to choose my birthday meal, I always chose lasagna. As a teenager, it changed to eggplant parm.

There is just something about pasta, tomato sauce and a combination of melted cheeses that fills my eyes with delight, and has me reaching for seconds and sometimes even thirds. (Plus there is something absolutely delightful about cold lasagna or baked ziti for breakfast!)
I’ve tried adding fried eggplant rounds to lasagna and vowed I would never make lasagna again without adding it. (It adds a lot of work, and I have not made good on my promise.) For a totally different flavor, I’ve layered chunks of butternut squash, with a slightly thickened broth (veggie or chicken) and the usual cheese mixture. Mushroom lasagna, with diced sautéed mushrooms and a mushroom gravy, is delightful as well. (Both the mushroom lasagna and the butternut squash pair well with a dash of nutmeg.)

Because of the cheeses, lasagna is a bit more pricey than other pasta dishes. But with the Italian Festival at Pete’s and other local grocery stores, now’s a good time to make a large pan.

Ingredients

Makes 8 servings
12 lasagna noodles $1.01
(3/4 box; Ronzoni on sale at Pete’s and Peck’s)
1 lb. mozzarella $3.99
(Galbani on sale at Pete’s and Peck’s)
2 cups ricotta cheese $2
(Galbani on sale at Pete’s and Peck’s)
2 eggs $.23
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley $.16
24 oz. sauce (canned or homemade) $1.50 (Bartolli on sale at Pete’s and Peck’s)
3 oz. Parmesan cheese $1.80
(BelGioioso on sale at Pete’s and Peck’s)
TOTAL COST: $10.69 PER SERVING: $1.34

The method:

Place 12 lasagna noodles in salted boiling water and cook about 8 minutes until al dente. Drain and put noodles into cold water to stop the cooking and cool them so they are easy to handle.

Coarsely grate 1 pound of mozzarella cheese.

Combine 2 cups of ricotta cheese with 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp. of chopped fresh parsley or 1 Tbsp. dried parsley. If you want extra flavor, you can add ½ cup chopped dried tomatoes, ½ cup of diced onion, 4-5 cloves minced garlic and 2 tsp. dried oregano.

Put a thin layer of sauce (either prepared or homemade) on the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan. Place three noodles. Cover with ricotta mixture, mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Do this two more times and cover with remaining noodles, and top with sauce and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake in oven for 45 minutes at 350° until cheese is bubbly and the top is slightly brown. Let it set for 5 minutes before serving.

I’d love to hear about your lasagna variations. Join the conversation at https://www.facebook.com/trrsimplefare/.