Italian food always seems to be a favourite of most people, especially in the winter months where comfort food is a plus. I know it is summer, but, I for one, need comfort all through the year. I know I wouldn’t be making this on a stifling hot steamy day, but there are plenty of cool days here in the northeast and BTW, isn’t that what they make air conditioning for?
Lasagna is very easy to make and it is the sauce that makes or breaks the recipe. You can have all the freshest ingredients, like freshly grated parmesan cheese or fresh picked herbs and spinach, but if the sauce is less than perfect, so follows the lasagna.
There are some wonderful, commercial sauces out there that are perfect for those that don’t want to start from scratch. Since it is summer and it is getting to tomato picking time, I love to make my own sauce with freshly picked, vine ripened tomatoes, fresh parsley, oregano, basil, and garlic.
I use a variety of tomatoes and no matter what type the end result is always very pleasing! I add hot Italian sausage and homemade meatballs to the sauce for even more added flavour. Add a loaf of crusty bread and the perfect meal will be yours for the eating!
homemade tomato sauce (or jar of your favourite brand)
1 box of lasagna noodles
2 cups cooked, chopped spinach
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Boil the lasagna noodles according to the package directions.
2. Mix the ricotta cheese, eggs, spinach, and parmesan cheese in a large bowl.
3. Place a layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13X9 glass baking dish.
4. Place noodles on top (3 laying the long way and then 4-5 on top of those laying the short way). Place a couple ladles of sauce on the noodles. Spread half the ricotta mix over the sauce. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese over this.
5. Repeat the layering of the noodles, sauce, and cheeses. Top this with the final layer of noodles, ending up with 3 nice long beautiful noodles on the top. Cover with a layer of sauce.
6. Bake in a 325* oven (if using a glass dish) and bake for 45-60 minutes or until bubbly.
Homemade Tomato Sauce (Fat Free)
10-12 large tomatoes
fresh herbs-garlic, basil, parsley, oregano
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Blanche the tomatoes in boiling water: wash and remove the stems, drop in boiling water for 1 minute or so, remove and place in cold water. Remove the skins.
2. Chop the tomatoes and drain in a colander which is over a large bowl to catch the tomato juice.
3. Place the tomatoes in a large pot. Add chopped garlic, onions, peppers,and fresh herbs of your choice. Toss in a little salt and pepper to taste.
4. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover and let cook. The longer the time of cooking the more flavourful the sauce will be. Using a cover keeps in the flavour of the tomatoes but will result in a more watery sauce.
5. Remove the cover to thicken the sauce or add a can of tomato paste. If the sauce gets too thick add some of the remaining tomato juice.