Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meaty Freezer Lasagna ..... Thanksgiving is just one month away. This is a great do-ahead recipe when you have a house full of comapny.

Meaty Freezer Lasagna
With the holidays ahead and the family coming to visit, I always like to have something prepared and in the freezer so I am able to maximize my time spent with the family and not in the kitchen.
Tomato Meat Sauce:
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 pound lean ground chuck
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Ricotta, Mozzarella, and Pasta Layers:
1 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 no boil noodles from one 8 or 9 ounce package
5 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium high, add ground meats, salt, and pepper, and cook, breaking into small pieces, until meat is no longer pink, but browned, about four minutes. Add cream and simmer until liquid is evaporated and only fat remains, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato puree, diced tomatoes, and basil and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until flavors blend, about 3 minutes. Remove pot from heat, cool sauce for 20 minutes, then refrigerate until cool, at least 20 minutes.
Mix ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, basil, eggs, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spread 1/4 cup meat sauce over the bottom of13 X 9 baking dish. Place 3 noodles crosswise on top of sauce, evenly space 9 tablespoons of ricotta mixture over noodles. Sprinkle evenly with 1 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, and sauce mixture two more times. Place 3 remaining noodles on top and spread with remaining sauce. Cover with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.

Spray large sheet of aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray and tightly cover lasagna. Wrap with plastic wrap several times and cover with another layer of foil.
When ready to serve, adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove all wrapping except foil layer that is flush against the lasagna. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, then remove foil. Continue baking until cheese is spotty brown and sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let lasagna cool for 15 minutes.
Can be frozen up to 2 months

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