Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lasagna Dinner with Peach Cobbler for Dessert

My daughter had a friend sleep over this weekend, so I decided to make my standard, easy lasagna for dinner. This is one of those simple recipes I can make without really thinking about it, and it generally seems to please anyone who tastes it. It makes a ton of food, but the remaining servings freeze beautifully. I normally would have made my own sauce for this, but I wasn't feeling up to making it this time, so I tried some bottled sauce by Emeril Lagasse; about 1 full jar is plenty for this recipe.

I start by parboiling the noodles, which is simply dipping them into boiling water for a few minutes until they become pliable. I then set them out on cooling racks while I get the rest of the ingredients ready. It costs a lot more to buy the "no boil" lasagna noodles and I have found that if you simply use the ordinary dry lasagna sheets, they sometimes can rob too much moisture from the rest of the recipe. Parboiling them doesn't take very long at all, the noodles retain their shape enough to lay them straight in the pan without tearing, and the lasagna comes out with the correct balance of moisture.

This particular version of lasagna is more the Italian-American style, meaning there is no bechamel sauce as would be more typical in true European versions. The filling is simply a mixture of ricotta cheese (or in a pinch you can use well drained small curd cottage cheese), some chopped parsley, some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and some shredded mozzarella, bound together with an egg or two and seasoned with some garlic, salt and pepper. I then layer the parboiled noodles, some meat sauce, and some of the filling, then top it all off with some slices of provolone or mozzarella cheese, cover tightly with foil, and bake for about 45 minutes. After baking, I allow the lasagna to rest while I heat up some garlic bread in the oven. The resting period allows the lasagna to settle and cool slightly, so you don't end up scalding your tongue or having gloppy cheese oozing all over when you cut into the slices. You can find my Lasagna recipe already posted here.

My local grocery store had huge, gorgeous Georgia peaches on sale this week, so I decided to try out Paula Deen's recipe for Fresh Peach Cobbler. There seems to be quite a difference in the types of cobblers you get, depending on where they are served and who makes them. Some versions have the filling on the bottom, and a cookie like dough is placed on top of the filling in small rounds. Other versions have a somewhat wetter batter-like topping that gets haphazardly dropped on top of the filling, almost like dumplings. Paula's version starts with the batter on the bottom, with the filling set on top. As the cobbler bakes, the filling sinks and the batter rises, producing an almost cake like topping. It was very good, not too rich, just right. And what a difference it makes using fresh peaches. This made just a small family sized cobbler, which was perfect.


  1. Everything looks so good Heather! I miss ruffle edged lasagna noodles. Lasagna is one of those wonderful dishes that is so open to interpretation and experimentation. There can be as many variations of the dish as you can think up! I love it!