Thursday, July 20, 2006

Individual Lasagnas

I started out with high hopes for this recipe (the individualization being my own genius idea) and they were dashed when I tried to go the no-boil pasta route. Even by buying the smaller no-boil lasagna noodles, I had to pain-stakingly break the noodles to fit into the miniture loaf pans. In the future, though it takes a little extra effort, PLEASE go for boiled noodles. Sure it adds a little extra time, but lasagna is sort of a long process anyway, so whats a few extra minutes?

The neat things about this though is that you are making individual servings. So you can easily double or triple this for the freezer. To freeze, the recipe says "The assembled, unbaked lasagna, if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil, will keep in the freezer for up to two months. To bake, defrost in the refridgerator for a day or tow and bake as directed, extending the baking time by about 5 minutes." Because these are much smaller, I doubt they would take long to defrost and I don't think it would hurt anything to leave them on the counter for a short while or defrost them in the microwave.

This would go great with some garlic bread. I think I also served it with asparagus and snow peas.

Individual Lasagnas
from The New Best Recipe with modifications and individualization
Serves 2.5

1/2 TBS olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 lb ground chuck
1/4 lb italian sausage (removed from casings)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
14 oz. diced tomatoes
6 oz. tomato paste mixed with equal parts water

Cheese and Pasta layers
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 1/4 oz parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 egg, lightly beaten
lasagna noodles
1/2 lb shredded mozzerella

3 mini loaf pans

1) Preheat oven to 375º
2) Prepare lasagna noodles according to box directions (if you are making a large lasagna, feel free to go the no-boil route).
3) Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 2 min. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
4) Increase heat to medium high and add ground meat, salt and pepper, breaking th meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon until meat loses it's raw color., about 4 min. Add cream and simmer, stirring occasioanlly, until liquid ecaporates and only fat remains, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer slowly until flacores are bleneded, about 3 min. Set sauce aside.
**If you find the sauce is too acidic or "tomato-y" try adding some sugar. That will cut back on the sharp taste.
5) Mix ricotta, half of the parmesan, basil, egg, salt, and pepper in medium bowl with a fork until well combined. Set aside.
6) Spray mini-loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Coat the bottom of each pan with sauce, avoiding large chunks of meat. Place a noodle on top to create the first layer. Drop 2-3 TBS ricotta mixture on to the noodle and spread evenly. Sprinkle evenly with mozzerella cheese. Spoon 1/2-3/4 cup of the meat sauce evenly over the cheese. Repeat layering until you reach the top of the pan. Place a noodle ontop and coat with sauce. Sprinkle with mozzerella and remaining parmesan. Lightly spray a sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover lasagnas.
7) Bake for 5 minutes, then remove foil. Reutrn the lasagna to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is spotty brown and the sauce is bubbling, abotu 25 minutes longer. Cool the lasagna about 10 minutes.
8) To serve, carefully flip the lasagna out of the pan and onto a serving plate. If you have any left, top with sauce and cheese or simply serve as is.

No comments: