Paula and I entertained some friends tonight. I made lasagna using the same recipe that I used when we entertained some of my colleagues back in December. It was just as big a hit tonight as it was back then. That was clear when our friend Tom went back for repeated helpings! I must admit that I was not surprised. This recipe makes a lasagna that is to die for. Using the fontina, cottage cheese and Pecorino romano really adds so much flavor. If you are interested in trying it at your house, here is the recipe. It takes a little time but it is worth it!
Ingredients (Cheese Sauce):
- 4 ounces (2 cups) of grated Pecorino Romano
- 8 ounces (1 cup) of cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon of corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
Ingredients (Tomato Sauce):
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 8 anchovy fillets (that are patted dry and minced)
- 1 (28 ounce can) of crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14.5 ounce can) of diced tomatoes
- 1 ounce (1/2 cup) of grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/2 cup of tomato paste
Ingredients (Rest of them…)
- 14 lasagna noodles
- 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1/2 cup of fontina
- 1/2 cup of Pecorino romano
I started the sauce by heating the olive oil in a large saucepan. When it was hot, I added the onions, sugar, pepper flakes, oregano and salt. I cooked these ingredients for about 10 minutes until the onions were softened. Then I added the garlic and anchovies and cooked them with the other ingredients for another 2 minutes. Next, I added the crushed and diced tomatoes along with the Pecorino Romano and tomato paste. After it started to boil, I reduced the heat to simmer and cooked the sauce for 20 minutes.
While the sauce was cooking, I prepared the lasagna noodles. I used one box of regular noodles. I place the noodles in a 9 x 13 baking dish. I covered the noodles with boiling water. While the noodles sat in the water, I used a fork (or paring knife also works), to separate the noodles so that they wouldn’t stick. It is important to do this as soon as the boiling water is added. Once they have sat in the water for a few minutes, you just need to gently move them around every 2 minutes or so. Let them sit in the water for about 15-20 minutes. The noodles should be pliable. Once they are, then you should rinse them in cold water and lay them on a dish towel to dry off slightly.
I also made the cheese sauce by combining everything into a large bowl and whisking everything until it was thoroughly blended. This could sit on the counter at this time until you are ready to use.
Now it is finally time to make the lasagna! Before you actually do, you will also need to shred 8 ounces (2 cups) of fontina cheese. While you do that, turn on the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the lasagna in this manner:
- Spread 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dry 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Lay 3 noodles lengthwise on top of the noodles with ends touching one short side. Then lay 1/2 of a noodle crosswise on the other short side.
- Spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture over the noodles.
- Add 1/2 cup of shredded fontina.
- Repeat layering the noodles, alternating which side of the baking dish gets the half noodle piece.
- Spread another 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce over this second layer of noodles.
- Add another 1/2 cup of shredded fontina.
- Create a third layer of noodles, again alternating the side of the baking dish that gets the half noodle piece.
- Add the remaining cheese sauce.
- Add another 1/2 cup of shredded fontina
- Add a fourth layer of noodles, once again alternating the noodles as before.
- Spread the rest of the tomato sauce of the noodles.
- Toss the final 1/2 cup of fontina with a 1/4 teaspoon of corn starchj and spread over the sauce.
- Sprinkle another 1/4 cup of Pecorino Romano over the sauce.
- Cover with a piece of aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake for 35 minutes
- Remove the lasagna from the oven and raise the temperature to 500 degrees.
- Remove the foil and place lasagna back in the oven to bake for about 10 minutes or until the top starts to brown.
- Let it sit for about 15 minutes so that the lasagna holds together when it is served.