Trying out recipes to pass on to you.

Hey mambo! Italiano without garlic?

Posted: October 25th, 2009 | Author: leah | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

Long time no cook! I just wrapped a huge project at work which has meant many long nights and many frozen pizzas. In the last few weeks of processed food, fast food, and quick fix meals the hubs has seen a pattern…onions and garlic make him have terrible heartburn.

 I’ve tried to deny his discomfort because frankly, other than salt, garlic and onions add the best flavor to a variety of dishes. Just look at the back of a package of, oh, anything. Garlic powder. Onion Powder. Flip through your favorite recipes. Two cloves garlic. One onion chopped. EVERYTHING. But I’m doing research and looking for ways to meet in the middle. Naturally he is a bit nervous to, say, try red onion instead of white. How about green onion? Shallot? Baby steps. Until then, a lot of Prilosec.

 So when this gorgeous and EASY lasagna recipe showed up on the homepage of Chow.com I cringed. Garlic! Onion! I was sure of it. But with only slight tweaking and research the finished product was delectable. And the hubs feels fine!

Start by printing off this easy to follow recipe (with cute illustrations, might I add). It makes a large batch. I’ll give you my half recipe which could easily feed 4-5 people. I prepared it in a smaller baking dish with no problem. You’ll need:

  • Something smaller than a 13-by-9-inch baking dish (9×9?)
  • one minced garlic cloves (I left this out)
  • 8 oz of ricotta cheese
  • one box of frozen spinach, thawed with the liquid squeezed out
  • 2-3 handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese—about a cup
  • one egg
  • one jars of tomato sauce (or a batch of the sauce I made, below. HIGHLY recommended)
  • a box of no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 8 oz of mozzarella cheese, sliced.
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix together the garlic, ricotta, spinach, half of the Parmesan, and the egg in the bowl until smooth.
  3. Spread a fifth of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. Overlap a quarter of the noodles in a layer on top of the sauce. It’s OK if they don’t completely cover the surface area.
  5. Spread a fifth of the tomato sauce on top of the noodles.
  6. Dollop a third of the ricotta mixture in a few spots over the noodles and flatten the dollops (the ricotta mixture will spread out when it heats up). Lay a quarter of the mozzarella on top.
  7. Repeat the process by laying a quarter of the noodles in the opposite direction than you did before, top with a fifth of the tomato sauce, a third of the ricotta mixture, and a quarter of the mozzarella. Repeat once more: a quarter of the noodles in the opposite direction, a fifth of the tomato sauce, the last third of the ricotta, and a quarter of the mozzarella.
  8. Cover with the last quarter of the noodles, top with the last fifth of the tomato sauce and last quarter of the mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.
  9. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until the lasagna is bubbly around the edges, about 35 minutes.
  10. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes, until the top is bubbly and light golden brown. Let the lasagna rest 10 to 15 minutes before slicing, or it will be too runny.

As you can see, this is a simple dish. You can add things like mushrooms, hamburger or sausage if you’d like. Season as you wish. Use low fat ricotta and mozzarella. Whatever! But I think what made this dish REALLY special was the sauce I used.

While doing research of an onion and garlic free red sauce I came across a great blog 101cookbooks.com and a gloriously simply and tasty five minute tomato saucerecipe. It has lemon zest which sounds strange but was magical with the tomato. The hubs even mentioned how good it was. Had I had this at a restaurant I’d still be thinking about it. It would be great with MANY other dishes. Enjoy!

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I subbed one large shallot, cut in quarters. After sautéing I removed them)
1 28-ounce can crushed red tomatoes
zest of one lemon

Combine the olive oil, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and garlic in a cold saucepan. Stir while you heat the saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté just 45 seconds or so until everything is fragrant – you don’t want the garlic to brown. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer just a few minutes. Remove from heat and carefully take a taste if it needs more salt. Stir in the lemon zest.


2 Comments on “Hey mambo! Italiano without garlic?”

  1. 1 Briana said at 5:54 pm on October 28th, 2009:

    I will totally have to try that sauce! Never thought about lemon in it but I bet it does add something special!!!

  2. 2 Johanna said at 5:33 pm on November 1st, 2009:

    My favorite lasagna ever wasn’t even italian!! Sacre bleu!
    It was actually spanish — an enchiladas suizas lasagna. So awesome, so cheesy, such great shredded chicken and red sauce and swiss cheese and tortillas and…. sigh.

    I often think of that lasagna. Fondly. Joy. :)


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