Lasagna is so versatile. When Laurie gave John his 50th birthday party she made SIX different versions. I have previously posted Vegetarian Lasagna, made with Zucchini, but I realized the other day that I have never posted my recipe. I decided to describe how to “doctor up” a jarred sauce, the way I often do. If you want my complicated recipe, go to my Table of Contents and look under all time favorites OR main dishes for Sunday Gravy. But if you just want to make a nice version that’s a lot easier, follow this:
SAUCE (the easy way)
1 jar prepared sauce. We like Trader Joe’s, Barilla, Rao’s, even Ragu and Prego
I start with 1/2 bottle of red wine and put it into a saucepan with about 4 anchovies (don’t be afraid of this. It doesn’t end up tasting like fish, however, the anchovies are optional). Add 1 small finely chopped onion, 2 or 3 cloves sliced garlic or 1 tbs. granulated garlic or crushed jarred garlic, 2 Tbs. sugar and at least one tablespoon basil or Italian seasoning. Simmer all this together for about 15-20 minutes, or till the wine reduces to about 1/2. When the wine has reduced, pour the jarred sauce in and simmer 15 minutes. That’s your sauce. I tend to like the smooth ones, like marinara or Original flavors, but use your favorite. Set the sauce aside and make the filling.
HOMEMADE PASTA ( you can buy it in a box, or DeFalco’s deli in Scottsdale sells it. Theirs is a lot prettier than mine)
2 cups all purpose flour (or 1/2 all Purpose and 1/2 Semolina)
1 tsp. salt
In a food processor, put the flour, pulse a couple of times and then add the eggs one at a time. You should see a ball form rather quickly. If it looks too dry, drizzle just a little bit of Olive Oil. When you take out the ball, it should be nice and pliable. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it set a couple of hours, or as long as overnight. Cut the ball into about 6 chunks, lightly roll it out till it’s the width to fit in a pasta machine. Proceed with a pasta machine (hand crank or electric) one section at a time, graduating from #1 all the way up to the thinnest. Hang each pasta sheet ‘to dry’ on a broom handle across your kitchen some way overnight. Mine is too wide, so I used pant coat hangers. Don’t worry if the sheets don’t look perfect. After you cook them you are going to layer them in a pan and nobody’s ever going to see them!!
1 carton Ricotta Cheese (or, I used my homemade ricotta). For that recipe, see the table of contents under Miscellaneous
2 beaten eggs
1 pkg. frozen spinach (microwave and drain) I sautéed a package of fresh in a little oil.
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
LAYER THE LASAGNA
Start with pasta, then filling, then sauce. I ended up with 2 layers of all three in a 9×13 pan. I like to end with a bunch of fresh mozzarella on top and sprinkle with some parmesan. Bake at 350 for about 35 or 40 minutes, or till it is browned bubbly on top.