The softness of noodles, the aroma of herbs, layered with goodness of cheese makes cheese lasagna, a mouth watering recipe. This is a popular Italian recipe which has won accolades all over the world for its flavour and taste.
However, you will be surprised to discover that lasagna originated from a Greek word lasanon, meaning chamber pot. It is popularly believed that a lasagna recipe was traditionally cooked in a chamber pot, before the world moved on to an oven.
Lasagna is a type of pasta that is flat, long, thick and is usually made of durum wheat. Making lasagna recipes can be a rather lengthy process, but the final dish makes all the effort worth it.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
1 packet lasagna
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tbsp black olives
2 whole eggs
½ tsp each of oregano, thyme (dried or fresh)
2 finely chopped tomatoes
1 small onion chopped
2 tsp olive oil
Freshly grounded pepper and salt
For the Lasagna Noodles
Bring a sauce pan with a teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add lasagna noodles to it, and cook for 8-10 minutes. The lasagna should not be under-cooked or soft. When cooked, drain the water and cool the lasagna in a large bowl. Toss it with olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
For the Sauce
Heat a sauce pan with a teaspoon of olive oil in a medium flame. Add onion, garlic and sauté them until the onion turns translucent. Stir in finely chopped tomatoes, oregano and thyme. Add salt and pepper. Simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir periodically to prevent scorching.
For the Cheese Mixture
Beat the egg until frothy. Combine parmesan cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, black olives, salt, pepper, and beaten egg in a large bowl. Keep aside for few minutes. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Spread half the quantity of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Cover it with a layer of lasagna noodles. Spread the cheese mixture over the noodles layer. Now, make the next layer of noodles followed by another layer of cheese mixture. You can increase the number of layers, if you are making the recipe for a larger group.
Spread the remaining sauce, and cover it with mozzarella cheese. Wrap the dish with a silver foil. Bake it in a preheated oven for 45 minutes. When done, remove the dish and let it cool for 10 minutes. A perfect cheese lasagna recipe should have a golden brown surface and crisp sides. Slice the lasagna and serve.
You can include meat layers to your lasagna by adding ground or minced meat. Add the meat along with the rest of the ingredients in the sauce. Lasagna tastes better when varieties of cheeses are added. Apart from parmesan and mozzarella included in the above recipe, you also can add cottage cheese and ricotta cheese. Lasagna is not for those who count what they eat. However, you can make this recipe nutritious by adding spinach, mushroom, or celery. Using low fat cheese is another healthy option. One of the best things about lasagna is that they can be prepared way ahead of time and be refrigerated. If you do, let it stand for at least 15 minutes in the room temperature before reheating it in the oven.