Saturday, July 12, 2014

Lasagna Toss Bolognese

Oodels of noodles, weather cheesy or blanketed in sauce, are the ultimate comfort food. From a light and luscious penne tossed with seasonal vegetables and a dollop of pesto to spaghetti carbonara, a restaurant favorite featuring a creamy, bacon-specked sauce, these dishes are sure to please.

If only lasagna, that perennial family favorite didn't take two and a half hours to prepare and bake! Luckily my streamlined version clocks in at just 30 minutes from saucepot to pasta bowl, without loosing any of the rich flavors of the original.

Ingredients:

  • 2 PACKAGES { 16 OUNCES } LASAGNA NOODLES { SEE TIP }
  • 4 TEASPOONS OLIVE OIL
  • 2 POUNDS LEAN GROUND BEEF OR MEATLOAF MIX { GROUND BEEF, PORK, AND VEAL }
  • 1 CUP DRY RED WINE
  • 2 JARS { 24 OUNCES } MARINARA SAUCE
  • 2/3 CUP HEAVY CREAM
  • 1 1/4 CUPS RICOTTA CHEESE
  • 1 CUP FRESH BASIL LEAVES, CHOPPED
  • 1/2 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PECORINO-ROMANO CHEESE
  • 1/2 TEASPOON GROUND BLACK PEPPER
  • 2/3 CUP SHREDDED MOZZARELLA CHEESE

Directions:

  1. HEAT A LARGE COVERED SAUCEPOT OF SALTED WATER TO BOILING OVER HIGH HEAT. ADD LASAGNA NOODLES AND COOK AS DIRECTED OR UNTIL AL DENTE.
  2. MEANWHILE, IN A 20-INCH SKILLET, HEAT OIL OVER MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT UNTIL HOT. 
  3. ADD MEAT AND COOK, BREAKING IT UP WITH A SPOON, UNTIL NO LONGER PINK, ABOUT 6 MINUTES { IF USING MEATLOAF MIX DRAIN OFF FAT }. ADD WINE; COOK 2 TO 3 MINUTES OR UNTIL ALMOST EVAPORATED.
  4. STIR IN MARINARA SAUCE, THEN HEAT TO BOILING. SIMMER OVER LOW HEAT 5 MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY. STIR IN HEAVY CREAM, SIMMER 5 MINUTES.
  5. IN A BOWL, STIR RICOTTA WITH BASIL, PECORINO, AND PEPPER; SET ASIDE.
  6. DRAIN NOODLES AND RETURN TO SAUCEPOT. ADD MEAT SAUCE AND MOZZARELLA; TOSS WELL.
  7. SPOON ONTO WARM PLATES; TOP WITH DOLLOPS OF RICOTTA MIXTURE.

ACTIVE TIME: 15 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 45 MINUTES
MAKES: 12 MAIN-DISH SERVINGS

TIP: DON'T BE TEMPTED TO USE NO BOIL LASAGNA NOODLES TO SAVE TIME WITH THIS RECIPE--THE NOODLES WILL BREAK APART WHEN TOSSED.