As much as I like to experiment with cooking and learn new dishes, I am not a fan of watching cooking shows. So for me to actually watch a cooking show there must be something to the dish that completely intrigues me. Normally, when I think of lasagna I picture a lump of food sitting my my belly. But this version of lasagna is light enough to serve at a brunch or luncheon with your friends. I figure, if my Japanese hosts liked this version of lasagna, then there must be something to it. I made a few changes because, well, I live in Japan and I don’t like their tomatoes (sorry Japanese tomatoes, I’m from California). And the salsa is good enough to stand on its own and eat with chips.
Here it is Sunny’s Latin Lasagna from Food Network:
- 1 (16-ounce) container ricotta cheese
- 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove excess moisture 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used less because I think it smells and tastes horrible)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 3 tablespoons oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound white button mushrooms, sliced
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Tomato Salsa, recipe follows
- 18 “oven ready” lasagna noodles, about 1 (16-ounce) package (I used only 12)
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl stir together ricotta, spinach, egg, cumin, salt and set aside. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat add 3 tablespoons of oil and 3 tablespoons of butter and saute ground pork and cayenne pepper until meat is brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove meat from the pan to a bowl and add mushrooms to the pan. Cook until tender, another 5 minutes. Add meat back to the pan, stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, to taste, then transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.
To assemble, layer bottom of 12 by 9-inch casserole dish with 1/3 of the salsa, then 6 noodles, overlapping to cover the entire bottom surface of the dish. Next add and evenly spread half the ricotta spinach mixture, half the pork mushroom mixture, and a layer of mozzarella. Layer another 1/3 of the salsa, 6 noodles, the remaining ricotta spinach mixture, and the remaining pork mushroom mixture. To finish add the last 6 noodles, top with the remaining salsa. Place the remaining mozzarella slices on top along with the remaining Parmesan. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and pepper, to taste. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F, uncover, and bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
- 1 poblano pepper, stem removed, seeded and roughly chopped (didn’t use because the store didn’t have any)
- 1/2 small red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeded and roughly chopped (didn’t use because the store didn’t have any)and ta
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored, seeded and roughly chopped (I used the large can of pureed tomatoes with basil)
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until almost smooth. Adjust seasoning, to taste.