Photo: Tyler Florence
From Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: Inside the Test Kitchen: 120 New Recipes, Perfected (Clarkson Potter)
Serves 6 to 8
Usually when you make lasagna, you have to boil the noodles, assemble the layers, and cook the dish. Then, when you finally cut into it and put it on the plate, it looks like goop. It’s just not worth the time. In this version, though, we press sheets of uncooked fresh pasta into a pot of sauce, eliminating the need to carefully add each layer and letting the pasta cook directly in the flavorful sauce. The pan goes from the stove to the oven to the table, making it a fast dinner and easy clean-up, too. We use ground beef in this recipe, but you could substitute ground turkey or chicken, if desired.
2 carrots, cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves
1 onion, quartered
Extra-virgin olive oil
11⁄4 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano tomatoes (36 ounces total)
1 pound ground meat (beef, turkey, or chicken)
Freshly ground black pepper
8 sheets Fresh Pasta or instant-cook, 4 x 8 inches
3 ounces fresh spinach leaves
1 pint fresh ricotta
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
1⁄3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Add the carrots, garlic, and onion to a food processor and process until very finely chopped.
Place a 10-inch oven-safe sauté pan with tall, straight sides over medium heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with some olive oil, and add the carrot mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and well caramelized. While the vegetables cook, pour the tomatoes and their juice into the food processor and puree.
Remove the caramelized vegetables to a bowl and add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high, and when the oil is shimmering, add the meat to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Season generously with salt and pepper, and let it sear until well browned. Add the pureed tomatoes, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, and stir. Bring the meat and tomatoes to a simmer, and simmer gently for 20 minutes to marry the flavors.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
After the sauce has cooked, reduce the heat to low. Place a sheet of pasta over the sauce and push down with the spoon so the pasta submerges. Use a wiggling motion so that all the meat doesn’t get pushed down to the bottom. Continue placing layers of pasta in the pot and pushing them down, creating layers of pasta and meat sauce within the pan. The pasta will cook in the sauce, thickening it. When the pasta is all in the pot, add the spinach on top. Dollop the ricotta over the spinach, and then add the mozzarella. Top with Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Place the pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
What’s your favorite kind of lasagna?