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a good lasagna receipe that is not too complicated for a novice cook? I looked at the leon receipe and almost fainted. I've made lasagna a couple of times so I know the basics of that kind of receipe. I need something with a little more zip.

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  1. If you want a little more zip, add hot Italian sausage. Brown the sausage first and chop it up and add it to your lasagne recipe.

    1. Here's a very good one from Epicurious that's quite easy and has Italian sausage in it.

      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      1. This is the one I made a long time ago & still doing...and wow, look how large the #'s of reviews are now!!

        http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Worlds-B...

        1. This recipe is very easy to make since you can find the cheese mixture prepackaged. The spices may be modified for for more zip.

          Seven Cheese Lasagna
          Serves: 8

          Pasta originated in China approximately 40 centuries ago and has wandered around the world. Some also think the word "lasagne" ( the plural form of lasagna) came from the Greek "lasanon," a chamber pot. The Romans adopted the word for any cooking pot; lasagne is the pasta dish cooked in the lasanum.

          Sauce: (may be doubled)
          • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
          • 1 medium onion, chopped
          • 2 teaspoon chopped garlic
          • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
          • ½ teaspoon dried basil
          • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
          • 1 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, whole
          • 1 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
          • ¼ teaspoon salt

          Ingredients:
          • ½ pound ground round
          • ½ pound ground Italian sausage
          • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
          • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
          • 10 ounces fresh spinach, picked and well washed
          • ½ cup Fontina cheese, shredded
          • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
          • ½ cup Provolone cheese, shredded
          • ½ cup finely grated Romano cheese
          • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
          • ½ cup Asiago cheese, shredded
          • 8 ounces ricotta cheese

          Method:
          1. Make the sauce first.
          2. Drain the whole tomatoes (reserve the juice) and cut into quarters.
          3. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat till the oil
          shimmers.
          4. Sauté the garlic and crushed red pepper for about a
          minute--until you can smell the garlic.
          5. Add the tomatoes, the reserved juice, basil, oregano, and
          salt.
          6. Bring to a boil, and lower the heat to medium-low.
          7. Simmer for about an hour, uncovered, stirring now and then.
          8. In a black cast iron pot, brown ground round and Italian sausage with chopped onions over medium-high heat.
          9. Continue to chop and cook meat until it separates, grain for grain. After meat is browned, drain the excess fat.
          10. Pre-heat oven to 250° F.
          11. Cook the lasagna noodles, four at a time, in two gallons of boiling water with 1 Tablespoon salt until al dente, about 3 minutes.
          12. Drain, rinse well to keep from sticking and set aside.
          13. Cook the spinach in the same water you used to cook the pasta, just
          for a minute.
          14. Remove spinach with a slotted spoon, drain, and spread out.
          15. Mix Fontina cheese, mozzarella cheese, Provolone cheese, Parmesan cheese, Asiago cheese and Romano cheese together.
          16. In a glass or ceramic baking dish (about 9"x13"x4"), pour about ¼
          cup of olive oil on the bottom and spread it up the sides then cover it with a layer of pasta – lengthwise across the pan.
          17. Pour a cup of the tomato sauce over the pasta and spread it out.
          18. Sprinkle about ½ cup of the dry cheese mixture over sauce.
          19. Lay down, at right angles to the sheets of pasta in the first layer, another layer of pasta.
          20. Cover this with another layer of sauce then add the browned meat and onion mixture.
          21. Add another layer of pasta, at right angles.
          22. Cover pasta with a cup of sauce and top the sauce with the spinach and spread it out.
          23. Layer pasta, sauce and all of the ricotta cheese.
          24. Top with another layer of pasta, remaining sauce and cheeses.
          25. Cover the casserole with foil.
          26. Put the casserole in the center of the oven and bake for one hour or until heated through.
          27. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes or so, until the top
          gets slightly crusty.
          28. After taking it out of the oven, allow the lasagna to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
          29. Slice into eight pieces and serve.

          1. To add a little "zip," I experiment with my basic lasagna recipe, changing the sauce mixture around, using different cheeses in the cheese mixture (try it with fontina, or maybe add a little blue), and adding vegetable layers (like fried slices of eggplant, pieces of roasted red peppers, or grilled portabello caps).

            This is a very easy, very forgiving recipe I use as the basis for lasagna.

            Cheese Mixture:
            1 15-oz container ricotta
            8 oz mozz
            8-16 oz sharp grating cheeses (like parm, peco romano, asiago, etc.)
            1 egg
            splash of milk
            splash of olive oil
            salt & pepper
            optional: splash of red wine (I use a pretty *healthy* splash)
            optional: 2 cloves garlic, minced
            optional: minced fresh herbs (like basil, parsley, oregano etc.)

            Sauce:
            32 oz store bought or fresh, with any extras you want mixed in (like ground meat, crumbled sausages, sliced mushrooms, diced onions, etc.)

            Pasta
            1 lb lasagna noodles, cooked very al dente (maybe for two minutes less than the lower limit of the recommended cooking time)

            Assemble the lasagna in a 9x13-inch baking dish as follows:
            Sauce on the bottom
            A layer of cheese mixture
            A layer of noodles
            Repeat a couple times.

            The top layer should be a sauce layer, with an extra sprinkling of grated cheese. Make sure the last layer of lasagna noodles is completely covered with sauce, taking care to add extra sauce all around the edges and especially in the corners.

            Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes covered in foil. Remove foil and bake 5-10 more minutes, until sauce is bubbling around all the edges and cheese on top looks a little golden.

            The most common modification I make to this recipe is to add layers of roasted red pepper: I roast and peel about four red peppers, then layer strips of roasted red pepper into the lasagna between the cheese and sauce layers.

            1. Wow Thanks for all the ideas!

              1. Barilla makes no-boil lasagna noodles. The "recipe" on the box makes great instructions--alter the ingredients at your whim.

                I love roasted vegetable lasagna--I always add lemon zest and chopped parsley to the ricotta.

                1. Tips from me are:

                  1,Totally use italian sausage in with the hamburger (in your sauce base). De-case it and fry it right in with the hamburger

                  2, use pureed tomatoes. Makes a huge difference. I found that whole or diced tomatoes had too much water in them and that makes the lasagna SOUPY. Basically, you want that finished meat sauce to be THICK. (My mom used to use tomato soup but, I find that makes the sauce bland.)

                  3, if you are doing the ricotta mixed with spinach (adding an egg to thicken etc), drain the living crap out of the thawed frozen chopped spinach.I used whole and it was a pain to mix in. Get the chopped. (Don't bother with fresh. That takes to long) Again that little extra water will make the lasagna soupy. I read somewhere that someone used a ricer to get the extra water out. Such a smart idea

                  4, If you love cheese, esp parm and you want to add it, get the good stuff. You won't regret it

                  have fun!

                  1. Oh, and if you use that recipe from Epi, I couldn't find the "crushed tomatoes with added puree" in any regular grocery stores in Edmonton (well on my side of town) when I cooked my last lasagna. I decided to try the plain old crushed tomatoes and they worked really well! It made the sauce incredibly thick.

                    (Sorry in my other post I mention to get the pureed, I really meant crushed....)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: livetocook

                      Even with the green can, I really love Pioneer Woman's lasagna. My favorite American-Style. Heck, she just won Best Food Weblog.... (Even if I think that's a little ridiculous. Jealous much?)

                      http://www.thepioneerwomancooks.com/2...

                      -Becca
                      www.porterhouse.typepad.com

                      1. re: Becca Porter

                        I made that one just recently ...Pioneer Woman's lasagna was like paint by numbers. The photos helped a lot and I only cut myself once. It was quite good.