Roll out the pasta

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     Lasagna is a classic dish that will warm any winter evening. A bit time consuming? Yes, (especially with homemade pasta) but an entire meal arrives on the table in one dish.


Chicken, Sausage and Beef Lasagna

     2 cups tomatoes

     5 tablespoons butter

     4 tablespoons flour

     2 cups chicken broth

     1 cup heavy cream

     Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

     1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

     ½ pound hot or sweet Italian sausages

     1 cup finely chopped green pepper

     1 cup finely chopped celery

     1 cup finely chopped onion

     1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

     ½ pound ground sirloin

     2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms

     Tabasco sauce to taste

     1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

     1 cup frozen or fresh green peas

     9 lasagna strips

     2 cups shredded, skinless, boneless cooked chicken

     2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

     ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

     Put the tomatoes in a saucepan and cook down for 30 minutes to about 1½ cups.

     Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. When blended, add the broth, stirring rapidly with the whisk. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

     Remove and discard the skin of the sausages. Add the flesh to a skillet and cook, stirring with the side of a heavy metal kitchen spoon to break up lumps. Cook until the meat loses its raw color. Drain off and discard the fat. Set the meat aside.

     Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and add the green pepper, celery, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring briefly, until crisp-tender.

     Add the beef and cook, cutting down with the sides of a heavy metal kitchen spoon to break up lumps. Add the sausage meat and mushrooms and cook briefly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

     Add the tomatoes to the cream sauce. Pour this combined sauce over the meat mixture and stir to blend. Add the Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Add the peas and bring to a boil.

     Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

     Cook the lasagna to taste. Drain.

     Butter a dish measuring about 9 ½ X 13 ½ by 2 inches.

     Arrange three lasagna strips over the dish. Add a layer of chicken and spoon some of the meat sauce over. Add about a third of the grated Cheddar cheese.

     Cover with 3 lasagna strips.

     Add another layer of chicken and another layer of meat sauce and grated cheese.

     Add a third layer of lasagna. Add the remaining chicken and spoon the remaining meat sauce over all. Sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar cheese.

     Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on the side.

     Makes 10 or more servings.


Crabmeat and Shrimp Lasagna

     4 tablespoons butter

     ¼ cup all-purpose flour

     3 cups milk

     1 cup fish or chicken broth or water

     ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

     1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

     1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese or low-fat cottage cheese

     1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

     1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

     1 package (9 ounces) no-boil lasagna noodles (or dried pasta cooked)

     1 package (12 ounces) frozen cooked shrimp (about 50 count)

     2 packages (6 ounces each) frozen crabmeat, thawed, drained and flaked

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

     In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until blended. Gradually whisk in the milk and broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese and set aside.

     In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, 2/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese and the nutmeg.

     Spread out a quarter of the sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover with a third of the lasagna noodles, overlapping if necessary.

     Top with half of the shrimp, half of the crabmeat, half of the spinach mixture and a third of the remaining sauce. Repeat the layers once, starting with half of the remaining noodles, using all of the remaining shrimp, crabmeat and spinach mixture and half of the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining noodles, sauce and 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese. Coat a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the casserole.

     Bake 35 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces and serve.


Spinach-Chicken Filling for Pasta

     1 cup minced, cooked chicken

     1 cup chopped cooked spinach, well drained

     ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs

     1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

     ¼ cup cream

     1 garlic clove, finely chopped

     2 eggs, beaten

     2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley

     ½ teaspoon nutmeg

     Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

     Combine the ingredients and mix well. Use as a filling for cannelloni, lasagna, manicotti or ravioli.