Submitted by Natalie Lochwin
A delicious and easy meal, clay baked lasagna takes a classic and adds new levels of flavour and moistness. This version comes from years of practice!
Put your clay baker to soak filled with cool water. For instructions on prepping a clay baker, see this previous blog post).
- 1 box oven ready lasagna noodles (whole wheat, spinach or white-your choice)
- 1 carton of ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 mozzarella ball
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used basil flavor)
- 1 lg diced clove of garlic
- 1 diced onion
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 eggs
- 1medium eggplant. Thinly slice 1 half and dice the other half . (Salt the eggplant and allow to drain in a colander for 10-20 minutes, quickly rinse to remove excess salt. Squeeze and pat dry. This removes some bitterness and extra water)
- 1 shredded zucchini
- 7 sliced mushrooms
- 250 ml water
- Salt, white pepper, dry oregano, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg
In a medium or large frying pan cook the ground beef until nicely browned. Drain extra fat. Add diced onion and garlic, zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant. Add a bit of red wine or water if your pan cooks dry. Add 1/4 cup tomato sauce. Stir occasionally until veggies are quite soft and cooked through, 10-15mins. Taste and season accordingly.
Start your sauce while the filling cooks to save some time. Add 1 minced clove of garlic and 1 tsp of olive oil to a cold heavy bottomed saucepan. Turn on the heat and gently cook the garlic until you can smell its aroma. Add the oregano. Add the tomato sauce and pasta sauce, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, dash of sugar, 1/2 tsp Worcestershire or Thai fish sauce. Add 1/2 cup of water. Allow to bubble away. Add more water as needed if the sauce begins to thicken. This is meant to be a fairly loose sauce so as to cook the oven ready noodles. Keep the sauce fairly warm as you assemble the lasagna.
Mix 1/2 tub of ricotta cheese with the cottage cheese, and add a dash of nutmeg & white pepper as well as the 2 eggs. Stir until mixed. Shred the mozzarella and add (placing it in the freezer for a few minutes prior to shredding makes this easier) reserving a good handful to top the lasagne. Salting the cheese filling is not necessary. It is a nice contrast to the seasoned sauce, meat & vegetables.
Drain your clay baker, and ladle about 1/4 of the sauce over its bottom. Cover with a layer of noodles, snapping them to fit. Add a layer of ricotta, top with noodles, then add a layer of ricotta and meat filling. Top with sauce, add another layer of noodles, repeat with ricotta and meat and sauce and noodles until the baker is near filled. Finish with a final layer of noodles and top these with sauce. Finally, top with with the reserved mozzarella. Cover the baker with its lid and place in a COLD OVEN (always remember to do this with clay bakers). Turn the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 1 hour. If you wish to, you may take the top off for the final ten minutes to further brown the cheese.
This makes enough for 5-6 people.
Serve with a salad and red wine. Great the next day, even cold. The kids loved it!