I love lasagna. But baking one in Bangkok poses quite a challenge. Ricotta cheese, a main ingredient, is quite expensive. I wondered, Is there a lasagna recipe that doesn’t need ricotta cheese? Well, I found one on food.com! It called for a pound and a half of fet mot (Thai for fresh mozzarella) cheese and NO ricotta.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 large chopped onion
- 1 1/2 lbs Italian sausage or 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef or 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 (12 ounce) cans tomato paste
- 1 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 3 cups hot water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano or 1 1/2 teaspoons other Italian spices
- 1/2 lb cooked and drained lasagna noodles (I substituted no-cook lasagna noodles)
- 1 1/2 lbs sliced mozzarella cheese (I used grated)
- Pre-heat oven 350˚F.
- I used chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes and processed in 6 one- second pulses in a food processor. Do this in three batches.
- Fry garlic and onion in hot oil until soft.
- Add meat and cook until crumbly. Drain oil. I had no oil to drain because I used chicken.
- Mix in salt, pepper, spices, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water.
- Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Simmer 30 minutes for ground chicken.
- In a shallow 9×13 inch pyrex dish, put a thin layer of sauce.
- I used no-cook lasagna noodles. Layer half the noodles, then sauce, and top with half the cheese.
- Repeat layers ending with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.
Yesterday, Andy brought home a huge Christmas hamper filled with imported foods from Italy. I saw the spaghetti and the bottle of Passata di Pomodoro and decided to make a spaghetti with Italian sausage. But rather than try to find what I know will be an inferior Italian sausage, I decided to put in spicy Isaan sausage. Also called herb sausage, this product comes from the Northeast and has a distinctive taste. It is made of pork and spices–I tasted chilies and lemongrass among them. I bought two, already cooked and curled up so cozy, at the Seri Market, Paradise Park in Bangkok.
2 Isaan sausages cut into rings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 x 24 1/2 oz. (720 ml) bottle Mutti Passata di Pomodoro (tomato sauce)
4 tablespoons fresh holy basil, chiffonaded
black pepper to taste
4 portions spaghetti
lightly salted water
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Put lightly salted water on to boil. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente.
Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and the onions are wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and sausage, and cook until heated through, about 5-7 minutes. Add the black pepper to taste. Stir in the basil.
To serve, scoop cooked spaghetti into a bowl. Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese, about a handful. Then top with Parmesan to taste. Generously spoon sausage and tomato sauce on top. I liked it; the sausage had a strong herbal taste that complemented the tart flavor of the tomato sauce. The cheese was discreet. I served it with a lettuce salad and a simple red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing.