Lasagna!!

Ya’ll! This lasagna was magical! It took all day and used just about every dish in my cupboard but it was absolutely worth it!

I already had noodles in the pantry so I only needed the filling ingredients. I wanted to add a fresh component since I was using canned sauce and I had my mind set on spinach and mushrooms but I came across a huge bag of chopped kale for super cheap so I chose that over the spinach. I had wanted to use a mix of ground lamb and beef but I didn’t find any lamb stew meat (probably the only time I wasn’t excited about the lovely rack and leg of lamb they did have) so I just went with the beef.  I also got Italian seasoned whole stewed tomatoes so I could cut them into bigger bites than the diced size and 3 cans of sliced mushrooms since they don’t cook down quite as much as fresh do.

I started with the kale because it needed to cook the longest, I know it will soften up during the baking part but not enough. I started with a pat of butter in the pan over medium high, the onion, a pinch of salt and pepper and a two shakes of granulated garlic and let the onions cook down until they were soft and just starting to brown around the edges. I deglazed the pan with about a half cup of  Cabernet but any hearty red would work and added about 3 cups of kale and reduced the heat to medium. I let the wine simmer all the way out until it was just the veg before I added about 3/4 cup chicken stock and let that reduce by half before I did anything else, even taste! Upon tasting, I added a little salt and pepper and 1/4 cup more wine and reduced the heat to low let it go so I could start on the meat.

I got two versions of the beef, Chuck and Round. The round that I found was extra lean and the chuck had so many beautiful fatty pieces! I used the large grind attachment so that I could get a bigger crumble out of the meat, I did have a thought about dicing instead of grinding but I decided against that as fast as I had thought it. Lasagna just can’t have chunks of meat!

I did things a little different with the meat grinding this time, since the meat was fresh I combined both packages and seasoned it with seasoned salt, pepper and Italian seasoning before I stashed it in the deep freeze for about 30 minutes. While the hubs set up the grinder for me, I chopped a whole yellow onion and got it in a pot with some olive oil and salt and pepper over medium low heat so it could start getting sexy and I peeled two cloves of elephant garlic so I could grind it up with the meat! What could be more delicious?

That onion in the pot that is getting its sexy on? At the halfway point in grinding the meat I raised the heat and and added 1/2 cup of wine and one 12oz can of mushrooms and let it keep on with the sexy while I finished the meat. I added the meat to the onion and mushrooms with another pinch of salt and crushed red pepper and let it simmer down until the meat was just starting to brown before I added all of the tomatoes.

I also did a little different on the tomatoes this time by going with a whole stewed, pre seasoned tomato instead of the diced. I wanted to have bigger hunks of tomato to match the size of the mushrooms and the larger grind of the meat.

Once I had the meat sauce on the simmer I started on the cheese mix. I went with cottage cheese, ricotta, sour cream and fresh mozzerella slices. I mixed the soft cheeses with fresh parsley, dried dill, dried Italian seasonings, onion powder, granulated garlic, red and black pepper and salt.  After mixing all the seasonings in I added the kale while it was still warm to kind of help melt the cheese a bit to make it easier for spreading!

Now for the layers!! Start with a little bit of sauce so the noodles don’t stick, then noodles, a layer of sauce, a layer of the cheese and kale, noodle, sauce, mozzerella slices, noodles, sauce, cheese and kale, noodles, sauce, mozz slices. The main thing was I alternated the layers of cheese until the last layer when I was using the last few slices and the dregs of the cheese and kale mix. I decided to cover it for the first 30 minutes of baking so that the sliced mozz could get super soft and melty before the edges and top got done. For the topping I used a mix of grated and shaved parm because I only had a little bit of each kind and the whole top needed to be covered.

In total I baked it for about an hour with the topping cheese being sprinkled on for the last 15 minutes or so. I served her with garlic sourdough bread, a glass of wine for him and ginger ale for me!

Thanks ya’ll!! Happy cooking!

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