The Collected Thoughts and Musings of an Aspiring Political Philosopher

Monday, October 17, 2011

John's Kick-Butt Lasagna

(Basic recipe borrowed from Barilla lasagna noodle package, the rest is all me)

1 jar Classico Florentine Spinach Spaghetti Sauce
1 jar Ragu or Classico alfredo sauce
1 can S&W Ready-Cut Italian Recipe Garlic, Oregano & Basil tomatoes, do not drain
2 tablespoons California Sun-Dry sun-dried tomato pesto
2 tablespoons Classico traditional basil pesto
1/4 cup Bella Sun Luci Julienne-Cut sun-dried tomatoes & herbs
2 tablespoons The Sauce Factory Mediterranean tomato topping
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup chopped or sauteed fresh garlic
1 lb ground buffalo (substitute turkey or hamburger)
1 lb ground sweet Italian sausage
16 oz cottage or ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon dried or fresh chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 large eggs
6 cups assorted shredded cheeses (recommend Italian blend, mild cheddar, swiss and monterey jack)
2 cups mozarella or Italian blend shredded cheese
1 package lasagna noodles
13x9 glass casserole dish

Boil noodles according to instructions on package in large pot, ensuring they remain firm and not too soft. While noodles are cooking, place meats, garlic and Italian seasoning in frying pan and mix together thoroughly, chopping finely as meat cooks to ensure a smooth filling. Meat and noodles should finish at roughly the same time; drain noodles and allow to cool in collander. Using same large pot, empty in spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, tomatoes, pestos, sun-dried tomatoes and tomato topping along with finished meat mixture. Mix thoroughly and set to medium-low heat, stirring often to avoid burning at the bottom. As noodles will still be quite warm, handle carefully; spread noodles out on waxed paper or large cutting board to avoid sticking together.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In separate bowl, mix 6 cups of shredded assorted cheeses, chives, parsely, eggs, and cottage or ricotta cheese thoroughly until well-blended. Spray glass casserole dish liberally with your favorite cooking oil. After sauce comes to a light boil, remove from heat and spread approximately 1 cup sauce evenly over bottom of casserole dish. Lay 3-4 cooked noodles over bottom, ensuring complete coverage. Apply 1/2 cheese mixture evenly over noodles (some gaps are fine; when the cheese melts it will fill the gaps). Apply enough sauce to cover cheese mixture thoroughly without drowning, then top with another layer of noodles and repeat for another layer. On top of last layer of noodles, spread thin but even layer of sauce and then cover edge-to-edge with shredded mozarella, thick enough so that sauce is no longer visible.
Cover dish loosely with tinfoil, ensuring the top of the tinfoil does not physically touch the cheese topping. Place dish on a large cookie sheet (large enough to capture any boil-overs, or lay tinfoil down on oven rack) and put in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove tinfoil from dish and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes to brown cheese. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Makes 12 individual servings.

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