Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lusciously Local Layers: Lasagne

Yes, I know, I've just posted a picture of an empty pan, a very white, clean pan. Certainly, a picture that looks neither luscious nor layered.

But for a little while on Saturday evening, this was filled with luscious, layers of fresh pasta, homemade ricotta, and ground grassfed beef coated with a creamy sauce made from Tomato Mountain roasted tomatoes. This largely local lasagna was our contribution to a regular gathering of friends. While I brought my camera, I wasn't quick enough to snap a shot before it was largely gone. For a moment, I considered shooting the sole remaining piece, but the lonely layers were wrapped and the pan washed before I got around to pulling the camera out.

It was not so popular with the kindergarten set. While my son liked it, it couldn't compare with the promise of playtime with his best school friend. No matter, it left more for the big kids.


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions cut into ½-inch dice
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup dry red wine
42-ounces whole, peeled tomatoes, pureed in a blender
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pinch red pepper
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 grinds of black pepper
1 pound fresh lasagna noodles (if so inclined to make your own here's the recipe for fresh pasta)
1 ½ pound ricotta
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sparkling water
1 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped
1/3 cup grated mozzarella

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add beef and salt; cook until no longer pink. Add wine and bring the liquid to a boil, cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, oregano, red pepper and bay leaf and cook uncovered for a half hour or until slightly thickened. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Stir in cream and pepper and remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, parmesan cheese, egg, sparkling water, and herbs.

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with olive oil. Spread a quarter of the sauce on to the bottom of the pan. Layer a quarter of the noodles on top of the sauce. Drop 1/3 of the filling in gobs of of the filling onto the noodles. Repeat two more times, end with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Put into the prepared pan cut side down. Bake for about an hour or until the cheese on top is bubbling and golden. Remove from the oven and let set for ten minutes.

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