Lasagna Fet Mot

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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

 Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven 350˚F.
  2. 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.
  3. Fry garlic and onion in hot oil until soft.
  4. Add meat and cook until crumbly. Drain oil. I had no oil to drain because I used chicken.
  5. Mix in salt, pepper, spices, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water.
  6. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Simmer 30 minutes for ground chicken.
  7. In a shallow 9×13 inch pyrex dish, put a thin layer of sauce.
  8. I used no-cook lasagna noodles. Layer half the noodles, then sauce, and top with half the cheese.
  9. Repeat layers ending with mozzarella cheese.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares.
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spaghetti with Isaan sausage

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.

Ingredients
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.