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icon Chaco's Lasagna Recipe (+2)  
Here's how to cook a nice, simple three-layer lasagna!


* Lasagna noodles (Be sure to buy the "regular" kind, not the "oven-ready" kind.)
* About 35 to 40 oz pasta sauce (Pizza sauce can substitute in a pinch, but it's a lot more sugary, so try to get a "traditional" or "organic" sauce if you can.)
* About 2 lbs filling. For last night's lasagna I used 1 lb ground beef and 3/4 lb portobello mushrooms, but there's lots of room for experimentation.
* 16 oz mozzarella cheese ("medium package")
* 16 oz ricotta cheese ("small carton")
* 8 oz shredded parmesan cheese (I guess you could use grated too, if you want, but shredded helps spread it out a bit better.)


1. Clear out as much counter space as you can. You'll need it!
2. (~10 min.) Boil about 4 quarts of water (probably on a stovetop?). You don't have to be precise, just make sure there's plenty of water for the noodles to rest in.
3. Add a pinch of salt to the water, and put at least 15 lasagna noodles in, which is probably the whole package. You only need 12, but you want some extras in case some of your noodles stick together or break.
4. (~5 to 8 min.) Start preparing your filling. In my case, this involved frying some ground beef and some mushrooms, and cutting them into little particles using a star-shaped ricer/masher.
5. (~4 to 5 min.) Once the lasagna noodles are done cooking, take the pot off the stove, but don't take the lid off. We're going to let the lasagna noodles cook a little bit more in the warm water, which will also help keep them from sticking together.
6. Finish your filling prep, if you have to.
7. Pre-heat your oven to about 350 degrees.
8. Find your largest horizontal area of countertop. Get out a large serving tray, and make sure your pasta, sauce, filling, and cheeses are at your fingertips.
9. Now it's time to play Cook, Serve, Delicious! Start by layering some sauce on the bottom of the pan (not too thick, just thick enough you can see lumps all across the bottom of the pan, even in the corners). Then layer your ingredients! You'll want to do two layers of pasta-sauce-filling-cheeses-parmesian, then one final layer of pasta-sauce-cheeses-parmesian. A handy mnemonic:


10. Admire your handiwork, then put your lasagna in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. I used the topmost rack, for whatever that's worth.
11. Retrieve your lasagna, and let rest uncovered for a couple of minutes. If it turns out people aren't ready to eat dinner for whatever reason, then cover the pan with tin-foil until ready.
12. Cut up and serve!


It's possible to adjust these ingredient amounts and cooking times if you want a four-layered lasagna instead of a three-layered, but beware that this makes the lasagna harder to cut and more prone to flopping over. Still, any kind of cooking is possible with optimism ;)

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09-08-2016 at 04:55 PM
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