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Cheese and Tomato Lasagna


This is a full of flavor lasagne that’s not glorpy or heavy! It’s similar to the light lasagne of Italy which is all about the pasta, not the thick sauce! 

Look up the recipe at Cooks Illustrated or America’s Test Kitchen. These two links will both take you there. You do need a subscription to have access to their recipes. If you don’t have one, take advantage of their one month free offer! I love these sites! They are a great source for recipes, testing and product recommendation, and will always provide interesting background info!

Here are some photos I took while making this lasagne along with basic instructions:

Cheese Sauce

  • In a medium bowl whisk together 

4 oz or 2 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese

8 oz or 1 cup cottage cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cheese sauce:

Tomato Sauce

  • In a skillet heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Sauté 1 chopped onion. Add and sauté together until onions are softened:

1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Add and cook about a minute:

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 or more anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry and minced (I use the entire can)

Sautéed onion and herbs:

  • To the onion add and simmer 20 minutes:

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

Tomato sauce nearing completion:

Lasagna

You will need:

14 curly type regular lasagna noodles, such as Barilla

8 oz or 2 cups fontina cheese, grated

1/8 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano 

  • Use regular lasagne pasta, but don’t cook it! Instead soften them! Use the curly variety 
  • Place 14 noodles in a 9×13 inch baking pan. Pour boiling water over the noodles to cover them
  • Use the tip of a sharp knife to keep the noodles separated 

This is the pasta brand I used and the pasta soaking in boiling water:

  • When the pasta are bendable, place the container in the sink and run cold water over them. Drain or lift them out of the water and dry the pasta on towels

Pasta dryIng on kitchen towels:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven
  • Place 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan
  • Cut 2 noodles in half crosswise and set aside.
  • Layer 3 full noodles lengthwise over the sauce with one end up next to the short end of the pan.
  • Place a half noodle at the other end of the pan perpendicular
  • Spread half of cheese sauce over noodles
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated fontina cheese over cheese sauce
  • Layer noodles next in the same manner but switch the half noodle to the other end of the pan
  • Spread 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce over the noodles
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup fontina cheese over sauce
  • Place 3rd layer of noodles with 3 1/2 noodles, again switching the short noodle to the other end from the last time
  • Spread remaining cheese sauce and then 1/2 cup fontina 
  • Layer 3 1/2 noodles and again switch their placement. This is to make the layers an even height
  • Spread the remaining sauce over the noodles.
  • Mix 1/2 cup fontina with 1/8 teaspoon cornstarch and sprinkle it on
  • Finally layer the 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano on top
  • Spray a sheet of foil with oil and place it oil side down on the lasagne
  • Bake at 375 for 35 minutes
  • Remove lasagne from oven
  • Increase temp to 500 and remove foil. 
  • Return lasagne to the oven and bake 10-15 minutes until lightly browned
  • Remove from oven and let sit 20 minutes before serving
  • I have made this lasagne ahead and refrigerated it before baking. Bring it to room temperature before placing it in the oven

Cheese Sauce layered over first layer of pasta:

Fontina layered over tomato sauce:

Fontina layered over cheese sauce:

Final layer of the lasagna: Pecorino Romano!

Cover the lasagne with an oiled sheet of foil and bake at 375 degrees!


The final stage is to remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 500 for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Then let rest for 20 minutes before serving. 

Voila!

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