Lasagna Alla Garfield
Why I Love This Recipe
Just paying homage to the fat orange cat, of comic fame, whose craving for lasagna matches my own.
While it often said that 'man cannot live by bread alone', the same cannot be said for Lasagna. Not only is Lasagna one of the architectural wonder of the culinary world, along with Tiramisu, which is also Italian (Go figure), but it is also one of the perfect foods.
It contains all of the food groups in one convenient dish. Dairy(Milk), Vegetables(Arugala or spinach), Fruit(Tomato) Protein(Beef, egg), Fat(Olive Oil), and Grains(Pasta and Flour). And let's face it, ANY food that contains three different cheeses is pure unadulterated heaven.
Ingredients You'll Need
3 Recipes of Béchamel (See Recipe)
3 cups Slow-cooked Tomato Sauce Base(See Recipe)
1 1/2 tsp Red pepper flake
1 Lb Ground Beef or Cheven; you may also use Italian Sausage removed from the casings)
1 small Red Onion; diced
2 Cloves of Garlic; minced fine
3 TB Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 lb Ricotta Cheese
1 TB Marjoram
1/2 TB Basil
1 tsp Coriander
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 LB Pasta Sheets (I use Barilla no boil Pasta, or fresh)
12 Oz Log of Mozzarella di Bufala; Sliced as thin as possible (At least 18 slices)(You can use shredded American dry mozzarella if you like)
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmagiano-Reggiano
1 lb Arugala (Blanched and Squeezed of Water) or Spinach or Swiss Chard
4 – 1TB slices of butter that have been cut into quarters giving you 16 pieces of butter.
Lay the ground work:
Cook 3 recipes of béchamel in a 2 quart saucepan, when béchamel is thick, stir in tomato sauce and Red Pepper Flakes.
Season to taste with Salt and pepper
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and brown the ground beef, breaking up any large lumps.
When uniformly brown, drain off the excess fat and set aside to cool completely.
Blanch Arugala in salted boiling water just until bright green.
Set aside to cool, then squeeze out any excess water.
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, eggs, marjoram and salt & pepper until homogeneous.
Utilizing a 13x9 baking dish; spread 1/3 of the béchamel in the bottom, arrange pasta sheets side by side to cover bottom.
Carefully spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta sheets.
Spread the Arugala evenly over the ricotta
Place another layer of pasta sheets over the Arugala.
Spread all of the beef evenly
Lay 1/2 of the mozzarella slices on top of the beef.
Pour 1/2 of the remaining béchamel over the mozzarella.
Place the last of the pasta sheets over the béchamel.
Spread the remaining Ricotta mixture over the sheets
Top with the remaining béchamel
Layer the remaining mozzarella slices
Sprinkle shredded Parmagiano-Reggiano over the mozzarella
Top with the 16 small pieces of butter.
Place the baking dish on a sheet pan that has been covered in foil (Lasagna ALWAYS stews over)
Cover baking dish with additional foil and bake for 30 minutes on the middle rack
Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 – 20 minutes
Remove from oven and let rest for about 15 minutes before serving to allow the lasagna to firm up a little but.