What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a lasagna? Comfort food? Potlucks? Grandma? I personally think about how I never really even liked lasagna until I couldn’t have it anymore. Well, that is not exactly true. I can still have it, but finding ricotta cheese in Germany is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Suddenly the thought of not having a ooey gooey cheesy meaty lasagna was heartbreaking and I needed to have lasagna – like yesterday. I had to improvise, but in the end the ricotta was not missed and I was able to enjoy my new favorite food obsession.
1/4 cup fresh chopped herbs, divided (I used equal amounts of sage, basil, oregano and marjoram)
salt, pepper to taste
2. Mix the ingredients for the cheese mixture together in a small bowl. Add the remaining chopped herbs and 1 of the shredded balls of cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to mix.
3. Place meat, water, onion, dried basil and garlic in a non-stick pan. Cook until the meat is browned, the water has evaporated and the onions and garlic are very soft. If the onions need more time to cook, add a bit more water (about a TBSP at a time) to avoid burning the meat. Drain the fat from the meat and season with salt and pepper.
4. In a glass baking pan, spread enough sauce in the bottom of the pan to coat it (about a 1/4 of the sauce). Place three lasagna noodles in the sauce. Top with cheese mixture and then with the meat. Add more sauce and then another layer of noodles. Repeat.
6. When ready to make the lasagna, preheat the oven to 200C/400F. When the oven is ready, place the lasagne in the oven with the tin foil still covering it. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the edges begin to lightly crisp.
7. Remove the tin foil and top the lasagna with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly brown.
8. Take the lasagna out of the oven and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow it to firm up (for easier cutting).
And a few interesting facts about lasagna:
- July 29 is national lasagna day
- The term lasagna was not originally a description of the food. Instead, it was used to describe the pan used for cooking lasagna.
- Lasagna is considered the oldest form of pasta.