(Nosher via JTA) – To add complexity to a simple lasagna, we upgraded each of the components — tomato sauce, cheese, and noodles. It’s one of our best casserole recipes and a perfect, satisfying dinner.
This recipe is reprinted with permission from Cooks Illustrated Magazine.
- 5½ ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (2¾ cups)
- 8 ounces (1 cup) cottage cheese
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⅛ tsp cornstarch
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 1½ tsp sugar
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 8 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 14 curly-edged lasagna noodles
- 8 oz fontina cheese, shredded (2 cups)
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
Whisk 2 cups Pecorino, cottage cheese, cream, one-third of garlic, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, ¼ teaspoon salt, and¼ teaspoon pepper in bowl until homogeneous. Set aside.
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, sugar, pepper flakes, oregano, and½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 10 minutes. Add anchovies and remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and ½ cup Pecorino and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place noodles in 13 by 9-inch baking dish andcover with boiling water. Let noodles soak until pliable, about 15 minutes, separating noodles with tip of paring knife to prevent sticking. Place dish in sink, pour off water, and run cold water over noodles. Pat noodles dry with clean dish towel; dry dish. Cut 2 noodles in half crosswise.
Adjust oven rack to middle position andheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1½ cups tomato sauce in bottom of dish. Lay 3 noodles lengthwise in dish with ends touching 1 short side of dish, leaving gap at far end. Lay 1 half noodle crosswise to fill gap. Spread half of cheese sauce over noodles, followed by ½ cup fontina. Repeat layering of noodles, switching half noodle to opposite end. Spread 1½ cups tomato sauce over second layer of noodles, followed by ½ cup fontina. Create third layer using 3½ noodles (reversing arrangement again), remaining cheese sauce, and ½ cup fontina. Lay remaining 3½ noodles over cheese sauce. Spread remaining tomato sauce over noodles. Toss remaining ½ cup fontina with remaining ⅛ teaspoon cornstarch, then sprinkle over tomato sauce, followed by remaining ¼ cup Pecorino.
Cover dish with greased aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove dish from oven andincrease oven temperature to 500 degrees. Discard foil, return dish to oven, and continue to bake until top is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Let lasagna cool for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with basil, cut into pieces, and serve.