Monday, June 3, 2013

You've got to love Versatility...

Hello Friends!

I saw this recipe done on Food Network the other day and just HAD to try it... it looked so delicious!!

But of course, you know me (or at least you should by now...!) I don't do very well with following recipes so I just created my own version of the actual recipe I saw.

The one thing I loved about this (other than the cheese) is that it can be so versatile!  I'll put some variations at the bottom to show you what I mean... but here goes..

No Boil Noodle Lasagna!

What you'll need:
For the white sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Lasagna:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds bulk of Italian sausage (spicy or sweet.. your choice)
  • 3/4 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 15 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 2 small zucchini, finely sliced on the bias (2- to 3-inch pieces)
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the white sauce: Bring a medium saucepan to low-medium heat and add the butter.
Once the butter is melted, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon; cook for 2 minutes (do not let it color).
Add the milk and bring to a boil, continuing to stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add in the Parmesan, whisking to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.

For the lasagna: In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and cook the sausage until just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until golden brown and the sausage is cooked through, 4 to 6 additional minutes.

Season with kosher salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Stir well, and then shut off the heat and set aside to cool.

In a small mixing bowl, combine ricotta, egg, Parmesan, about 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and a few rounds of cracked pepper.

Spread 1/4 cup of the white sauce in the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch nonreactive baking dish.

Begin layering with 3 noodles, followed with about 1 cup ricotta mixture.

Layer about half of the sausage and mushroom mixture in the pan.
Follow with half of the ricotta mixture and a layer of the zucchini rounds.

Add the white sauce to coat, sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat.

Top the second layer with 4 noodles, white sauce and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and remove the foil cover. Heat the broiler to maximum temperature. Broil until the cheese is browned and bubbling, about 1 minute.

I will admit to a few issues with my 'not following the recipe'... I used only one pound of sausage and that definitely was too little.  Next time I'll do the two full pounds or maybe even split it with ground turkey.    My second issue was the cheesy white sauce....I used too much (gasp!).  The recipe above makes about 3 cups of the white sauce..  I made about 4 and a half (I mean, come on - we all know I love a good cheesy sauce!).  It ended being too much by far - so next time, I'll stick to the three cups!

Other than that - this dish had good flavor and was incredibly easy to make!  While I was putting it together, I thought of how many different ways this could be made!

Vegetarian:  eliminate the sausage all together and substitute several different kinds of mushrooms (shitake, portobello, crimini, porchini).

Mexican:  in the white sauce - use queso fresco.... for the meat...I'd use 1 lb of ground beef and 1 lb of spicy chorizo sausage.  Rather than Mozzarella, use cheddar or a combo of Monterrey Jack and Cheddar.

Greek:  I'd use a well spiced ground lamb (with garlic, oregano and mint) and in the ricotta mixture - I'd use chopped cooked spinach with 1/2 the amount of ricotta and the other 1/2 cottage cheese and lots of Feta Cheese.

Try this out and let me know what you think!  If you have any ideas on variations - let me know... I'd love to try it out!

Until Next Time...


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