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LASAGNA: A NEW TAKE ON AN OLD TIME FAVORITE

We have had endless days of rain in our neck of the woods which always leads me to comfort food.  Lasagna being a family favorite.  There are a number of different lasagna recipes on my blog and while this is somewhat of a traditional lasagna there are a few new ingredients as well as a very different method.  Why I used a different method was a result of having extra sauce.  This recipe will make a lot of  tomato sauce – there was almost 3/4 of a liter left – which will freeze beautifully.  This is also the first time I have used crushed tomatoes in place of whole canned tomatoes and tomato paste.  The canned crushed tomatoes gave a brighter sweeter flavor – very tasty!

We have been getting the most beautiful Swiss chard from our local farm winter box program, hence this new lasagna recipe.  So green and gorgeous don’t you think?

Normally we have this as a side dish:  saute the ends with a chopped leak, then add in the chopped leaves with a splash of fresh lemon and salt and pepper.  It got the wheels turning: adding it to the lasagna was a delicious alternative to steamed spinach.  Also, I tried a different method with the yogurt sauce – I used plain yogurt with a beaten egg mixed in instead of my standard yogurt cheese method.  Something we used to do years ago when making lasagna.  I always use uncooked gluten free lasagna noodles, making the dish in the morning to put into the oven for dinner.

TOMATO SAUCE:

2 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 of a finely grated carrot

1 large onion, chopped

4 minced garlic cloves

1/4 of a small green pepper, diced

2  28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes

1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. ground fennel

salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 large bay leaf

28 gr. package of fresh chopped basil

Heat up a large dutch oven (a stock pot would work too) with the EVOO on medium low heat.  Add the grated carrot, onion, garlic, green peppers to the pot and saute to sweat out.  Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Saute about 8 minutes, then add in the seasonings except for the fresh basil.  Saute for another 4 minutes.  Pour in the crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, then turn down to low.  Simmer for 1 hour  stirring occasionally.  Five minutes before it is finished cooking, add in the fresh chopped basil.  Remove from the heat.

YOGURT SAUCE WITH SWISS CHARD AND LEEKS:

1 bunch of fresh Swiss chard – 3/4 of a lb. stems removed, and chopped

1 large leek, sliced and chopped (rinse well)

EVOO

juice of a 1/4 fresh lemon

salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 cup of plain whole organic yogurt

2/3 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese

1 large egg

fresh cracked pepper

Heat up a cast iron pan with a drizzle of EVOO on medium heat.  Add the chopped Swiss chard ends and the chopped leek to the pan.  Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Saute about 8 minutes.  Add in the chopped chard leaves and continue to saute about 8 more minutes.  Remove from the heat and squeeze in the fresh lemon juice.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk up the egg.  Add the yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and fresh cracked pepper mixing well.  Add the cooled chard/leek mixture and stir well then set aside.

1 package Tinkyada Lasagna Noodles – 12  in total

4 crimini mushrooms, chopped

1 lb. lean ground beef

fresh cracked pepper

Parmesan Cheese

grated Aged Cheddar Cheese

In the same cast iron pan on medium heat, add the ground beef to brown – breaking the meat up into bits.  My ground beef is very lean so no need to drain excess.  Once brown, add in the diced mushrooms and saute for another 8 minutes or so.  Season with fresh cracked pepper. Remove from heat.

ASSEMBLY:

To a large lasagna pan add a generous amount of tomato sauce to the bottom of the pan.  Add 4 lasagna noodles laid out in a row then cover with 1/2 the yogurt mixture and top with the meat/mushroom mixture and a generous topping of tomato sauce.  Repeat using all of the lasagna noodles and finish with meat/mushroom mixture covering well with tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese and grated aged Cheddar cheese.

Cover with tin foil and bake in a pre-heated oven of 350 degrees for 1 hour until bubbly.  Remove tin foil, allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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