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Steep and Deep Lasagna | Sortachef

Steep and Deep Lasagna

When it comes to lasagna, size matters. Just as with great ski terrain, steep and deep is good. You want your teeth to bite into a mouthful of flavor, cascade off the noodles and sink your taste buds into pockets of cheese that go forever. Ah, now that’s the good stuff.

So when Jonathan from Norway the other day asked me, “What size is your lasagna pan?” his question threw me. In my family – forever, it seems – the standard glass Pyrex pan has been the pan of choice. It’s cheap and available everywhere. The 4.8 quart 10” x 15” version makes enough lasagna for a hungry crowd, while the smaller 3 quart version does for less people. But in my book these pans have a drawback: the lasagna is too darned thin.

Enter the loaf pan. These glass pans, measuring 4.5” x 8.5” with nearly 3 inches in depth, make excellent deep dish lasagna. They accommodate 8 layers of noodles, allowing for a mountain of flavor that fits easily into your oven. They also make it easy to please the vegetarians in your life; at Chez Bullhog, we almost always make a meat and a veggie version. But be warned: all this steep and deep stuff just might create an avalanche of flavor on your plate!

Steep and Deep Loaf Pan Lasagna

Makes 2 lasagne – one meat and one veggie – enough for 8 servings

6 cups of tomato sauce, preferably homemade

One package (8 ounces or 16 noodles) of no-boil Barilla lasagna noodles

6 cups of water at 150°

8 – 12 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese, depending on taste

For the cheese filling:

16 ounces of ricotta cheese

2 ounces of shredded mozzarella

1 egg

1 or 2 cloves of crushed garlic

1 teaspoon of oregano

For the meat filling:

8 ounces of mild Italian bulk pork sausage

1 or 2 cloves of crushed garlic

¾ cups of tomato sauce

For the veggie filling:

1 pound of fresh spinach, rinsed and drained

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 or 2 cloves of crushed garlic

½ teaspoon of salt

 

Make the cheese filling: In a wide soup bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 ounces of shredded mozzarella, 1 egg and 1 or 2 cloves of crushed garlic, depending on how much garlic you like. Stir in the oregano at the end. Cover and set aside.

Make the meat filling: Meanwhile, brown 8 ounces of bulk Italian sausage in a frying pan over medium heat. Break the meat into small pieces as it cooks and add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic. When the meat starts to stick to the pan, add tomato sauce, stirring to incorporate. Turn heat off and cover the pan.

Make the veggie filling: Heat half the olive oil in a 12” frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add half of the rinsed and drained spinach. After a minute, turn spinach over and simmer on the other side for a minute or two. As soon as the spinach is wilted (but not cooked to a mush), add some crushed garlic and salt and move to a bowl. Do the other half of the spinach the same way. Before adding, squeeze the spinach leaves and either discard or reserve liquid for another use.

Get the noodles ready: In an 8” x 8” pan, pour 4 cups of 150° water over 8 of the no-boil noodles. Let soak for 10 minutes. Add the last of the hot water and the other 8 noodles in the middle of assembling the lasagna.

Assemble the lasagne: With 2 loaf pans on a counter, it’s best to build both of the lasagne at the same time. Start with a small amount of sauce, just enough to cover the bottoms of the pans. Put down a heated noodle. Now top with either half of the spinach or half of the meat sauce (depending on the lasagna) and spread to the edges. Sprinkle on a bit of cheese and top with a heated noodle. Cover with about ¾ cup of tomato sauce and a little more cheese. Put on another heated noodle and onto each of the lasagne spread ¼ of the cheese filling; top with another heated noodle and ¾ cup of tomato sauce.

Repeat this process with the additional noodles, ending with a generous topping of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of cheese, if desired.

Bake the lasagne: Preheat the oven to 400°. Bake for 15 minutes at 400° on a center rack and then lower the temperature to 350°. Bake for a further 35 to 40 minutes, until the sauce bubbles up around the edges. Put a piece of foil on a lower rack to catch the drips if the pans bubble over. Let cool 15 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

This recipe is dedicated to the lost souls of last week’s avalanches at both Stevens and Snoqualmie Passes. Our hearts go out to the victims’ families and the survivors. Every time we carve the big bowls, we’ll be thinking of you.

 

Copyright ©2012 by Don Hogeland

 

 
 
 
 
 

Lasagne in the pans: veggie lasagna with meat lasagna in the background

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At Woodfiredkitchen.com, Sortachef takes you on adventures in the kitchen and beyond, with tales to suit. Many of his offerings are woodfired - a flaming good recipe for pizza, bread, or something different. All recipes are original and tasty. Enjoy!
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