Friday, May 11, 2012

Quinoa Ragu Lasagna

Sometimes, lasagna is all we crave. Layered cheese, creamy sauces, rich meat, and pasta noodles. What else do you need? We made this before leaving for NYC last month and baked it in a loaf pan, since most of our cooking is for two (with leftovers!) Oh and why quinoa? We had some leftover cooked quinoa in the fridge from a previous meal and decided to load up the lasagna with a nutritious grain that not only added health benefits, but provided texture in an otherwise smooth and creamy lasagna.

Quinoa Lasagna
Serves 2, with leftovers
Fresh or Dry Pasta Noodles, 1/2 pound
large pot of water, salted
1 cup quinoa, cooked

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 pound ground beef/pork/chicken
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
2 cups cream
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set aside the cooked pasta and quinoa. Start by heating the oil in a medium saucepan and saute the onion, carrot, and celery for about 4 minutes. Add the preferred meat and sear.
  2. Add tomatoes, sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 25 minutes, until meat is cooked through.
  3. In the meantime, make a quick Béchamel sauce by making a roux with the butter and flour. Cook for 2 minutes and whisk in the cream. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  4. When the meat sauce is cooked, fold in the cooked quinoa.
  5. To assemble: Grease a loaf pan with butter or oil. Cover bottom of the pan with 2 tablespoons
    Béchamel sauce. 
  6. Layer with a strip of pasta noodle and then top with meat-quinoa sauce.  
  7. Drizzle bechamel over meat-quinoa sauce and repeat layer of pasta.  Finish with Béchamel sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. 
  8. Bake at 400F for 15-25 minutes, until cheese and Béchamel are browned. Serve with a salad of greens and crusty bread.

    You can make this gluten free by using cornstarch in the bechamel and using gluten-free pasta noodles. We made fresh noodles using Domenica Marchetti's Pasta Recipe and they turned out great in this recipe. Whenever we have the time, we make fresh pasta instead of using dry pasta. The results are noticeably different; the long noodles soak up both sauces and provide structure to the meal.

    How do YOU make lasagna? Links are welcome, so make sure to share your favorite recipes with us!

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