Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lasagne Belmonte

Each region of Italy seems to have its own variation of the lasagne casserole. This one, using tomato and beef sauce with three flavorful cheeses, closely follows those found in the southern section. You will like this taste for my husband and I like it so much. We even ate the baking dish of it within a week, just the two of us and nothing has been wasted. I got this recipe from my recipe book, "Recipes for Ground Beef and other ground meats." I used the Spicy Lasagne Variation which is a substitution of 1/2 lb mild Italian pork sausage for 1/2 lb of the beef. If you'll use this variation, be sure to remove the sausage casing, chop it and brown with the beef.

1 medium-sized onion, chopped
3 tbsps olive oil or salad oil
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced or mashed
2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
1/2 cup each dry red wine and water (or 1 cup water)
1 tsp each salt and oregano leaves
1/2 tsp each pepper and sugar
12 ounces lasagne noodles
Boiling salted water
1 lb (2 cups) ricotta cheese or small curd cottage cheese
1/2 lb mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large frying pan over medium heat, saute onion in oil until soft; add beef and garlic and cook, stirring, until meat is brown and crumbly. Discard any fat. Stir in tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine and water. Add salt, oregano, pepper and sugar. Stir until mixed. Cover pan and simmer slowly about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile. cook noodles in boiling salted water until tender as directed on package (about 15 minutes). Drain thoroughly, rinse with cold water and drain again. Arrange about 1/3 of the noodles in the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch shallow casserole dish by crisscrossing noodles. Spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the noodles; top with 1/3 of the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Repeat this layering two more times. Top with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Makes about 6-8 servings.