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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Brazillian Lasagna

My sister's boyfriend, Brazilian wunderkind chef, created a magnificent Brazilian inflected lasagna for us while I was visiting. I was loaded with delicious mozzarella and tomato sauce, but with the twist of layers of ham and bleu cheese.

Here is my approximation of the recipe! It was so good I had to post something.

Paolo's Lasagna

1 pound sliced ham
1 onion minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or sprinkle in marjoram, oregano and savory)
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
1/2 lb Bleu cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat the oil and cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic, sugar, parsley and the seasonings except for the fresh basil leaves. Lower heat and simmer for about an hour. (if you don't have time to make your own sauce, just buy 2 jars of good basil based sauce like Classico)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Boil the lasagna sheets. Drain well and rinse in cool water.

In a deep baking dish (9x13), start with the sauce and layer slices of ham, crumble the bleu cheese, the shredded mozzarella and the fresh basil leaves then the noodles.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on the last layer of noodles on the top. Cover with aluminum foil, making sure that the foil does not touch the layer and back for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and back another 25 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before enjoying!

Lasagnas and casseroles are almost always better if made the day before and reheated. The flavors get a chance to set together.

Thanks Paolo for a wonderful meal!

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