bakery lasagna

once upon a time i owned a bakery cafe.
have i told you that? did you know?
yeah i think i have mentioned that here a time or two. ;)

anyways......one big part i wanted for the business were take home meals.
beautiful homestyle meals that could replace fast food in a pinch and make you feel so much better about the take home pack of 6 cupcakes you were more than likely to buy.{i have to admit - those cupcakes were pretty good!}

right after opening, my mom {who had a similar shop herself} swooped in to help and had one word for me:
trust me - lasagna.

so we made lasagnas. LARGE family style lasagna's. {we also made sausage rolls who were going to be the star - along with our chicken pot pies - of my hoped-for frozen foods line. but that's another story for another day.}

they. flew. out . the. doors.
they were an instant hit.
i was having standing orders for them.
couldn't keep enough of them around.
they were a major part of our success.

thanks mom.

bakery lasagna.

2 pounds lean ground beef or ground sirloin.
one large onion, diced {i like a lot of onion}
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped. {i like a lot of garlic - you can dole this back a bit.}
14 lasagna noodles. {12 for the main dish, 2 extra for patch jobs or in case one comes to a timely end.}
2 x 700ml jars of your favorite tomato sauce or of your own.  {i haven't posted mine yet but this one is great. plus her philosophy here is great - be sure to make a deposit yourself.}
reserve some sauce in a small dish - about 1/2 cup - for the bottom of your pan!
2 tablespoons of dry italian spice
500 grams of ricotta cheese
1 x 300 gr package of frozen chopped spinach - thawed, drained and squeezed.
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese - please please please shred your own and do not buy the pre-shredded bags!

let's go!!

first thing start boiling the water for your noodles. follow the package instruction then cook accordingly. also pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. a pre-heated oven is a happy oven.

meanwhile: get your meat going - heat a large deep skillet to medium. place in the olive oil and get it a little hot then add your onion and garlic - grind a little pepper on there for seasoning. be careful not to burn your garlic! turn it down if you have to. then when those have gotten all happy & sizzley in the pan add your beef and cook - breaking it up - until it is no longer pink. drain very well! throw it in a colander if you have to {somebody really needs to invent something that you clip on the side of your pan to drain your meat efficiently...hhmmm...hamster wheel is spinning..}. once drained add your italian spice, toss it around a little and let that sautee for about 30 seconds to one minute. now add your sauce - remember to put 1/2 cup aside! get it going then turn down your heat, don't look at all the splatters it makes on your with stove and let it bubble away so it can thicken up slightly. turn around and make your filling - don't worry about the splatters! turn around now.

for the filling: in a meduim bowl combine the ricotta cheese, your well-squeezed-till-as-dry-as-you-can-get-it chopped spinach and the egg. throw a little cracked pepper and salt in there because that always makes it tasty. now mix that all together and set aside. don't taste - raw egg, yuck!

go back and test your sauce - taste it. is it thick enough? does it need a little salt and pepper? if so, toss it in. wait a couple minutes before testing again - the seasoning need a little time to get in there and make it taste just so. once you are happy with it we are ready to go!!

1) place your reserved sauce at the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass or metal casserole pan.
2) top with three lasagna noodles.
3) spread 1/3 of sauce on noodles.
4) top with three more noodles {the extra two noodles cooked are for hole patch jobs - use when needed}
5) top with ricotta filling
6) top with three more noodles. {reference above ie: more noodles.}
7) take a sip of wine - oh did i forget to tell you - the cook should always have a glass of wine! unless making said lasagna at 9am...but then to each it's own! who am i to judge?}
8) another 1/3 of sauce goes here and throw three more noodles on top as well - and more if needed..
9) finish off the sauce now and cover with cheese.
10) place the pan - on a cookie sheet!!! always! - in your pre-heated oven for 40 to 45 minutes. once done take it out, let stand for 15 minutes and graciously & egotistically accept any and all compliments. relish in the yummy sounds - you had a big part in creating those and you should bask in it. don't get modest now - you just made a lasagna!!!


Caroline said...

Thank YOU! I am pinning the lasagna out of this one!


Leslie said...

That sounds divine. Seriously.

Lisa said...

Oh, yumm! This looks so good! Now I'm even hungrier than I already was :) Absolutely love your animated gif!

Jen said...

thanks so much ladies. we sure did enjoy eating it! ;)