Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sweet Garlic Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those foods that I've always been a little "meh" about. It just never did much for me. It was heavy and full of meat and I dunno... kind of dull. A few months back Nathan asked me to make lasagna. I'd made it once before, but it was never on my dinner roation for the aforementioned reasons. So I figured I'd make MY kind of lasagna. Something lighter, brighter, fresher, and sans meat. Hubby was skeptical. I'd go so far as to say nervous. "What, no meat? No sausage? Not even a little hamburger?" Nope. No meat. Suck it up and eat it. And guess what? He did! And not only did he eat three large helpings, he took LEFTOVERS. *faint* And he proceeded to actually buy all of the ingredients (ok, most of the ingredients... he is a man, remember) a couple of weeks later so I'd make it again. This dish is now a monthly routine for us; Nathan makes a Trader Joe's stop on his way home from Naval Reserve drill, and I lovingly craft the lasagna on the following Tuesday (my weekday off). It's inadvertently become a little family tradition.


2-3 TBS olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 large can of tomato sauce (16 oz.)
1 TBS sugar
1/2 (or so) box of no-boil lasagna noodles
1 lb whole milk mozzarella cheese- sliced into thin rounds/slices (a piece of string works best for slicing)
1 12 oz. carton of cottage cheese
1 egg

For sauce, lightly brown garlic in hot olive oil. Add tomato sauce and sugar. Simmer for about 10 minutes, set aside.

Blend cottage cheese and egg together in blender or food processor, set aside

In a 8x8 inch pan, start your layers. They should go like this (after an initial layer of sauce on the bottom) -- pasta, sauce, mozzarella, THIN layer of cottage cheese mixture. Repeat. Build lasagna until it's about 1/2" from the top, and finish with a layer of sauce and mozzarella. I always use up all of the sauce and all of the mozzarella but have about half of the noodles and half of the cottage cheese stuff leftover.

Bake in 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes, uncovered until bubbly and browned on top. Take out and let sit for 10-15 min before slicing.

This is great in the summertime with fresh basil leaves placed every other layer, too. Try to avoid the temptation to spice up the tomato sauce with a bunch of dried herbs; I really think the beauty of this dish is the brightness of the simple sweet tomato sauce. Serve with a crisp green salad and bottle of wine, and you're on for a li'l Italia in the midwest. :)

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