Friday, March 19, 2010
NOT Your Momma's Lasagna
The last post about lasagna I had was "Momma's Lasagna"... very straight forward, all the normal things you'd want in and think would be in a lasagna. Well... this is somewhat different. It's got your elemental lasagna ingredients, but with an addition of a few things, which is my opinion, make it one of the best lasagnas I've ever had.
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
28 oz. can crushed San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
2 sweet potatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1-2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
1 box lasagna noodles
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a dutch oven, heat olive oil under medium high heat and add bacon. Stir in cinnamon and cook until bacon is crispy and golden, about 3-5 minutes.
Add in onion, garlic, carrots, rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are starting to soften.
Stir in ground beef and cook until browned, about another 5 minutes or so.
Mix in mushrooms, tomatoes, beef stock, and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bake in oven for at least 1 hour. This allows the flavors to have enough time to meld with eachother.
While you're waiting, take your sweet potato slices and season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and slightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Also, prepare your lasagna noodles according to package directions, adding some olive oil to the water so the noodles do not stick. Drain noodles and set aside on parchment paper.
About 10 minutes or so before the sauce is done baking, you can start on your "bechamel" of sorts. Heat 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup cold whipping cream with the cornstarch until it is dissolved. When the cream in the saucepan has come to a boil, low heat slightly and stir in cold cream. The mixture should start to thicken and then you'll want to add in about 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese. Keep adding cheese until you get your desired consistency. I added about 1 full cup and was satisfied. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Take your sauce out of the oven and mix well. Everything should smell pretty fantastic right now.
Preheat your oven to 400F.
In a large baking dish, spoon a little bit of the sauce on the bottom of the pan so the noodles don't stick. Then add a layer of noodles. Ladle a good bit of sauce on top of the noodles. Add a layer of sweet potatoes (they don't have to be touching eachother, just sporatically). Top with about 1/2 ladle full of the cream sauce and a handful of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Continue layering like this until you've run out of noodles. I think I had 3 different layers (only enough sweet potatoes for the bottom 2 layers though). Spoon on the remaining sauce and remainder of cream sauce and top with mozzarella and parmesan.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until top is nice and golden. Serve piping hot and enjoy!
I've never had a lasagna that included sweet potatoes or making my own sauce from scratch. It really was the perfect definition for "comfort food." I even brought it into work the next day and everyone that tried it liked it!
So well, today is Friday, and we leave for Savannah, Georgia on Sunday morning, so I'm not sure if I'll be posting any next week or not, but if not, enjoy the week... because I know I'll be enjoying a MUCH needed vacation away from everything! Enjoy!