Lasagne with ricotta

Lasagne with ricotta

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Serves
12-15

This may be made a day or two ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes, and serve cut in squares accompanied by a mixed tossed salad. Good for a crowd.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
750g minced steak
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 quantity Egg pasta
or 500g store-bought fresh lasagne sheets
500g ricotta or cottage cheese
500g mozzarella cheese, sliced
100g parmesan, grated

Tomato sauce

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 stick celery, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
750g ripe tomatoes, chopped
or 850g tinned tomatoes, drained
3 tablespoons tomato paste
freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 bouquet garni
salt
250ml wine
or 250ml water
or 250ml juice from tinned tomatoes

Method

  1. To make tomato sauce, heat oil in saucepan, add celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes and wine, tomato juice or water. Season with salt and pepper and add bay leaf and bouquet garni. Cook gently for 30 minutes, then remove bay leaf and bouquet garni and rub sauce through a sieve. Set aside.
  2. Season meat with salt and pepper. Shape into balls a little larger than a marble. Heat oil in a frying pan and brown meatballs on all sides. Do this in 3 batches so that the oil keeps hot and free from moisture. Place all meatballs back in pan and cook gently for 5 minutes. Drain.
  3. If using fresh pasta, divide dough in half and roll out each half thinly, or use a pasta machine to make a rectangle, 40 × 45 cm. Trim edges and cut dough into 8 × 10 cm rectangles. Drop one at a time into a large pan of boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Cook in at least 2 batches.
  4. If using bought pasta that is not pre-cooked, cook for 15 minutes in boiling salted water.
  5. Turn pasta into a colander and rinse with cold water, then place pasta sheets on a clean cloth so they are not touching, and leave to dry.
  6. Butter a large baking dish or ovenproof casserole and spoon about one-third of the tomato sauce into it. Arrange half of the pasta sheets on top, then cover with a thin layer of sauce and spoon over one-third of the ricotta or cottage cheese.
  7. Arrange a layer of one-third of the mozzarella cheese on top and sprinkle with one-third of the parmesan cheese. Spoon over more tomato sauce, then add meatballs, one-third of the cheeses and remaining pasta. Coat with remaining tomato sauce, then add remaining cheeses, ending with a layer of parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for 45 minutes or until golden.
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