half & half lasagna . . .

by mulberryshoots

DSCN8653Today, I thought I’d use the ground beef I had in the fridge (about half a pound) to make lasagna. I love noodles and the thought of layers of noodles and ricotta plus cheeses sounded really appetizing to me. At the same time, I also remembered that I used to make lasagna with fresh spinach and mushrooms, layered together with said ricotta and cheeses too. So, I decided to make one big batch with half of each filling on either side.

In the middle of preparing the lasagna, I began to remember how much effort it requires: cooking the meat and adding tomato sauce with Italian herbs to simmer; boiling the lasagna noodles (the hardest part because they like to cook slowly and both fall apart and stick together; cutting up a box of mushrooms and sauteeing them with chopped garlic; chopping up a shallot and cooking it in olive oil along with half a bag of spinach and chopping it up; and finally, mixing together fresh ricotta with two eggs, a half cup of grated parmesan cheese as the creamy filling within.

Nonetheless, after filling the kitchen sink with dirty dishes, I put together a lasagna that had 9 cooked noodles, meat sauce, ricotta, mozzarella cheese, then on the other side,  noodles, spinach, mushrooms, ricotta and mozzarella cheese. I sprinkled Italian herbs on the plain tomato sauce for the spinach side. Alternating the layers, I finished up with two full layers, topped with noodles, sauce and mozzarella on the top. I covered the casserole with aluminum foil until time to bake it.

At 350 degrees, I’ll bake the lasagna for about 45 minutes with the foil on, then remove it and let it brown for another 15 minutes or so. There’s plenty to go around so I plan to freeze it and put servings into the freezer for a quick warming dinner later in the month. As long as I’m going to the effort to prepare all those ingredients, I thought it would be a nice idea to make a large batch and enjoy it later on without all the muss and fuss. A small ranch dressing salad with avocado and red onions rounds out our meal.

And, despite being a very tight game, the Patriots did manage to win Super Bowl LIII. The duck boat parade will be held in Boston tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m.