Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pepperoni lasagna

So, I took a vacation. A vacation from blogging. A vacation from food. And ate nothing but waffles and macaroni and cheese from a box for about three months. All because I am going to have a baby this (late) summer.

Hooray for babies! Boo for remembering to eat interesting food.

However, there is one thing that I've been making consistently during this break... and it's lasagna. Is it because it's comforting? Yes. Is it because it's impressive (so I feel that I've done something useful)? Yes. But it's also because, even with my manly infantry husband around, there are guaranteed to be days worth of food out of this one.  Days worth of food that every meal I am excited to eat.

Lasagna is one of those funny things where everyone has their own style, and their own recipe. When I got married to my darling husband we went back and forth making his mother's lasagna, or my mother's lasagna. We've settled on this... which we call "our" lasagna. (which is pretty much my mother's plus pepperoni.) We settled on my mom's as a base not just because it's delicious and wonderful, but also because it takes about 1/3 of the time to make. And I am a sucker for easy. As seen on this blog (minus that chili recipe, which is not easy, but is DELICIOUS).

Also, once you get the rythym down to this, it really does not take that much effort. I'll explain it here, but if you just want to do it your own way, scroll down. Scroll down and be happy.
Boil a bunch of water (salted) in a big pot for your noodles, and cook them however the package asks you to. Then drain the hot water, and let them hang out in some cold water until you're ready for them. easy.

Brown a pound of spicy sausage and a pound of ground beef (note, if you have a large pan and can do them both at the same time, add the ground beef about 2 minutes after the sausage - they tend to cook at slightly different rates). Drain fat from meat mixture and add a large (#10) can of crushed tomatoes, a small can of tomato paste, 1-2 cloves of diced garlic, 1 tbs Italian seasoning (rub it between your hands as you put it in if you're using the dried stuff - it'll let all the goodness out), and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Let that simmer while you finish making everything else (or you can use right away if that's how it got timed today). easy.

In between all this fun - when you're not stirring noodles, or browning meat - put together "the white layer." Add a large container of 4% milk fat cottage cheese (I used low-fat for years, but this is SO much BETTER), 1.5 cups parmesean cheese (note, I generally just add a "tub" of the shreaded stuff, but if you have the time, shread away!), two eggs and about 1/4 cup (ish) of freshly chopped parsley. Mix that all up. done. easy.

Open up a 4c bag of shredded mozzarella cheese. That's your last later. Easy.

And now here is the optional and only slightly time consuming moment of your day. Heat a small pan to medium, and add pepperoni. Let it toast for 3-5 seconds and flip. You want it to be slighly crispy along the edge. Take it off the heat (drain it on a paper towel), and do it again! Keep going (you may have to drain the liquid once or twice). It's so tasty and awesome. Maybe you should try one... just to make sure it is safe.

Now layer noodles, white layer, cheese, meat layer twice in the pan. And then add a layer of pepperoni - and a little more cheese.

Stick your wonderful pan of creation in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Then wait 5-10 after it comes out of the oven before cutting... and enjoy. It's easy. It's tasty. It is impressive. And it makes even the fussiest baby-bellies say "oh my goodness, I'm happy."

Pepperoni-Studded Lasagna

1 box lasagna noodles
1 lb spicy sausage
1 lb ground beef
Large (#10) can of crushed tomatoes
Small can of tomato paste
2 cloves of diced garlic
1 tbs Italian seasoning
Large container 4% milk fat cottage cheese
1.5 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/3 cup "deli sized" pepperoni
3-4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Boil noodles according to package direction.

Brown and drain sausage and meat. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and Italian seasoning. Let simmer.

Combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs and parsley in a seperate container.

Brown pepperoni in a dry skillet for 3-4 seconds on each side and drain on paper towels.

Layer noodles, white layer, cheese and meat layer twice in the pan, followed by a layer of grilled pepperoni, and another layer of cheese.

Bake 350 for 35 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve with salad and warm bread. Be adored.