Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hearty Lasagna

We have been watching The Sopranos for the first time. We are just about to start season 2 tonight and I am excited. As some of you may know, in the first season, Carmela makes a lot of baked ziti, lasagna, and other delectable pasta dishes for family dinners and for her priest. Every time we watch an episode, I crave some good, cheesy Italian food.

A Sopranos cookbook was published, and a lot of the recipes are available online, so I checked them out so I could make "Carmela's" recipe, but all of the recipes are SO INCREDIBLY full of meat. Uncle Junior's Sunday Gravy, a staple in many of the recipes, uses more animal parts than I ever imagined putting together in one pot. So I had to find a different recipe.

For some reason, I had no straightforward Italian dishes. My program is filled with all these fancy pasta recipes that I've collected over the years, but for some reason I never bothered to collect the simple ones. So I put out a request on the CLBB and was provided with this recipe. While it calls for meat, soy crumbles were recommended.

I made it with the soy crumbles but otherwise followed the recipe. It bubbled over a little bit while baking, soiling the perfectly-cleaned oven Gibby had toiled away on yesterday, so I felt kind of bad. But then I felt better when a perfect and delicious lasagna emerged. It is absolutely delicious. I love it. I want to eat it forever. Gibby didn't care for it too much but he isn't a fan of lasagna in the first place. But I am satisfied and can now put on tonight's Sopranos DVD with a tummy full of delicious lasagna. And I have a ton of leftovers for the week!


Hearty Lasagna
CL, Jan 1995

3/4 pound ground round (Note: Sub soy crumbles)
Vegetable cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups nonfat cottage cheese
1/2 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 (15-ounce) container nonfat ricotta cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten
12 cooked lasagna noodles
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Italian provolone cheese
Fresh oregano sprigs (optional)

Cook meat in a large saucepan over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble; drain and set aside. Wipe pan with a paper towel. Coat pan with cooking spray; add the onion and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes. Return meat to pan. Add 2 tablespoons parsley and next 7 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover; simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons parsley, cottage cheese, and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; stir well, and set aside.

Spread 3/4 cup tomato mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodles over tomato mixture; top with half of cottage cheese mixture, 2 1/4 cups tomato mixture, and 2/3 cup provolone. Repeat layers, ending with noodles. Spread the remaining tomato mixture over noodles.

Cover; bake at 350° for 1 hour. Sprinkle with remaining provolone; bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with oregano, if desired.

Yield: 9 servings (We got more like 12)

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