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a recipe repository

10 December 2005

Emeril's Lasagna

Decided that in lieu of taking any tests for A. and M., I could help their stress level by cooking them dinner. The ever ambitious (and sometimes dense) me decided that lasagna was in order. Many hours and a mess of a kitchen later, I had made a GREAT lasagna, Emeril’s lasagna after much recipe hunting. Actually, I had made two… each in a throwaway 8x8 tin. I made a lot of substitutions…. I drew the line at making the sauce from scratch so I cheated a bit. I browned the three meats and then added in the minced onion celery and carrot (which really helped to enhance the flavor). I added in the paste as the recipe directs and then instead of adding all whole tomatoes, I added two jars of sauce (one carmelized onion and mushroom from TJ’s which I didn’t love as much as I wanted to, although the mushrooms made a great addition, and one Pomodoro). I also added two big cans of crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and various herbs. I let the sauce simmer for about an hour partially covered until I believed that it was homemade sauce. I mixed the ricotta mixture using slightly more ricotta (another half container) and a bag and a half of the mixed TJ Italian blend rather than two full bags which seemed like too much. I added the chiffonade of basil, but next time I would chop it more finely. I also added some basil to the simmering sauce. I used the fresh refidgerated pasta sheets after doing some preliminary research, they were great. After assembling the first lasagna, I figured out that spreading the cheese onto the lasagna sheet before placing it in the pan is the easiest. Also, of note, never make one lasagna again…. It’s just as much work to make two and they are easier to handle and freeze in the 8x8 containers. I only fit three layers in the pans rather than four but tasted just as great anyway. Just in case I wasn’t worn out, I also embarked on making an apple crisp. I used Jacques’ recipe, I didn’t taste any, but I did use the snacking apples that were pre-sliced and cored from the store (just Safeway carries them). I put this in an 8x8 pan too and bagged the crumble separately. I will have to ask how it was. The vanilla gelato that I sent along with it was good, no matter.

Emeril's Lasagna
2 cups fresh ricotta
8 ounces grated Provolone
8 ounces grated Mozzarella
8 ounces grated Romano
1 egg 1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon chiffonade of fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe of Emeril's Meat Sauce, recipe follows
1/2 pound grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 package of dried lasagna noodles
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, Provolone, Mozzarella, Romano, egg, milk, basil and garlic. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. To assemble, spread 2 1/2 cups of the meat sauce on the bottom of a deep dish lasagna pan. Sprinkle 1/4 of the grated cheese over the sauce. Cover the cheese with 1/4 of the dried noodles. Spread a 1/4 of the cheese filling evenly over the noodles. Repeat the above process with the remaining ingredients, toping the lasagna with the remaining sauce. Place in the oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving. Slice and serve.
Emeril's Meat Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 pound ground beef
1/3 pound ground veal
1/3 pound ground pork
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 (28-ounce) can of peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
4 cups beef stock or water
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
Pinch of crushed red pepper
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano

In a large nonreactive saucepan, over medium heat, add the oil. In a mixing bowl, combine the meat. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. When the oil is hot, add the meat and brown for 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk the tomato paste with the stock and add to the tomatoes. Add the thyme, bay leaves, oregano, basil and red pepper. Mix well. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 2 hours. Stir occasionally and add more liquid if needed. During the last 30 minutes or cooking, reseason with salt and pepper and stir in the cheese. Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Yield: 1 1/2 to 2 quarts