We love lasagna. I, however, hate making it. It has so many steps and uses so many of dishes that I feel like I am in the kitchen all day. That is a huge exaggeration, of course, and the result is worth the effort every now and then. Today was one of those days I thought the work was worth it.
There is definitely a difference making lasagna here than in the states. Namely, the availability of ingredients. The first step was to make ricotta cheese, since that isn’t something I can buy here. It’s very easy!
You will need:
4 cups of whole milk
1/2 tsp of salt
3 Tablespoons of white vinegar
Put your milk in a pot and add the salt. Heat it until it gets foamy and you see bubbles forming around the edges, then remove it from the heat.
Add the 3 T vinegar and barely stir it around. You will see curdles form almost immediately. Let it sit for a few minutes, and while you are waiting, rig up some fancy contraption to strain the whey from your curds. I use a cheesecloth type rag affixed to a bowl with a headband because I have no rubberbands. Don’t judge. It worked.
Look how much more separation you can see after just a few minutes! Start pouring your pot of milk onto the cloth slowly so it doesn’t overflow. Let it drain for 5 minutes to overnight, depending on how dry you want your cheese. Mine was pretty well drained after 5 minutes, and it still seemed drier than the store bought stuff…Put your cheese into a container and pop it in the fridge. You will be left with a bowl of yellow whey, that you can either dump, or use google to find all sorts of crazy things to do with it!
Now onto some more prep work…I grated a few cups of mozzarella cheese and about 1/2 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese, chopped some parsley (I may have used cilantro because I can’t really differentiate between the two. ha!), and browned some meat to make my sauce. I also boiled my lasagna noodles. In the states, I would buy a nice little packet of pre-shredded cheese and some jars of sauce. It made it so much easier! Here, I don’t have that convenience, so I just make it all.
After all that is done, the rest is easy!
You will need:
2 cups Ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsely
Mix all this together for the cheese layer of your lasagna.
32 oz spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
Brown the beef, add the sauce, let it simmer. This is your sauce layer.
Start with red sauce, add a layer of noodles, a layer of cheese mixture, red sauce, noodles, cheese, until you run out. Top with the rest of your mozzarella cheese and bake until it bubbles!
I have to admit that I rarely actually use the measurements. We like more cheese, so I add more. Sometimes I don’t add the water, then see that I am running out of red sauce, so I will add water at that point. It is a very forgiving meal, and really, so worth the time!! I usually make some french bread to go with it, and we eat entirely too much, then lay on the couch complaining while in the same breath asking who will get up to make some brownies…