Friday, September 2, 2005
Roasted Red Pepper Lasagna
12 lasagna noodles
4 medium red sweet peppers (or two 7 ounce jars of roasted red sweet pepper)
1 teaspoons olive oil
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup fresh basil - snipped
5 cloves garlic minced
3 drops Scoville Brothers Heavy Metal Heat hot sauce
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sweet or hot (I used hot) bulk Italian sausage
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups milk
1 pound ricotta cheese
2 tablespoon parsley
dash of pepper and a pinch of salt
2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese (the real stuff not the stuff in a green can).
Preheat oven to 425 F. Cook sausage with 1/2 teaspoon of the chopped garlic in a fairly deep pan. Drain all but about a teaspoon of the grease. Cook the noodles in a separate pot as per directions to "al dente" (you want them a bit firm as they will soften up in the oven).
To roast red peppers: Place them cut sides down on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and browned. Wrap in foil and let sit for half an hour until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the skins from the peppers and cut into thin strips. If using the ready to go bottled kind, simply drain and cut into strips.
Now turn the oven down to 350 F.
Red Pepper/Meat sauce: In the pan you cooked the sausage in, add the olive oil and cook the sweet peppers on medium heat for a minute. Stir in tomatoes, basil, parsley, black pepper and half of the salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add sausage and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bechamel Sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir in flour, nutmeg and remaining salt until smooth. Add the milk all at once, and cook and stir constantly with a whisk over medium until thickened and bubbly (the mixture should coat the back of a wooden spoon). You must stir this constantly or it WILL burn, but it only takes a few minutes to cook. Set aside to cool slightly while you whip up the ricotta.
Ricotta - mix ricotta with eggs, parsley and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Add dash of pepper and pinch of salt (to taste) and mix thoroughly.
Layer One - Spray the bottom of a lasagna pan (3 quart rectangular) with non stick cooking spray. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles. Top with 3/4 cup bechamal sauce, about a cup of the red pepper/meat sauce on the noodles, 1/3 of the Ricotta mixture and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Layer Two - 3 more noodles, 3/4 cup bechamel sauce, one cup red pepper/meat sauce, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Layer Three - 3 more noodles , 3/4 cup bechamel sauce, a little less than one cup red pepper/meat sauce, remaining ricotta mixture, 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Layer Four - 3 more noodles, remaining red pepper/meat sauce, remaining bechamel sauce, and remaining Parmesan. Make sure the noodles on the top layer are completely covered with sauce.
Bake at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and just starting to brown on the top. Let stand 15-20 minutes before serving.
Make Ahead Directions: After assembly, cover the lasagna with plastic wrap and put in fridge up to one day ahead. To serve, remove plastic wrap and cover with foil. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 25-25 minutes, until bubbly and starting to brown.