Breaking news : Garfield is ready to share his lasagna !!!! Startled !!! wont you ???
Off course it would have been a breaking news, if there is a bit of truth in it..we all know that it is far from possible unless lasagna got rotten or …it has some * in it, but it is enough to throw the world of Garfield upside down. Garfield is not only fond of lasagna but he is simply obsessed with it.
Yes, I am talking about that fat and lazy orange cat (well, I haven’t seen any orange color cat before 🙂 ) who does nothing except eating and sleeping the whole day, who will show you how to kick Odie off his seat, each time , in different style, and yet he managed to become the star of his comic strip and able to rake in some 80 million dollar through his films.
Garfield is cynical, sarcastic, sadistic but has a soft corner for Pooky, his teddy bear and in happier times he wont shy away from juggling his fat belly to the tune of Shakira’s hips dont lie…But I find him exceptionally adorable, and it is he who introduce chicken lasagna to me. Sounds strange is n’t it? But this is true, strange are the ways of world… for many Asians like me whose world of Italian cuisine revolves round only pasta and pizza. I know lasagna is also a sheet of pasta, but not before, I tasted it.
Garfield not only is fond of lasagna but he knows also how to cook a perfect lasagna, meticulously arranging the sheets of pasta, topping each with cheese and chicken / turkey sauce, and when somebody ask about what is the best thing in lasagna he likes most, he says…its cheesy !!! Yes, to me also, cheese is the best part of lasagna, and for those diet fads, who send lasagna on a vegan diet, how will you take out the cheese part of lasagna ???
In Bangalore, not many restaurants serve lasagna, but I happen to stumble upon an Al fresco style dining @ 20 feet high atop three-quarter Chinese in Church street. 20 feet high was known for its sizzler but they do serve lasagna also. First time, when I had lasagna, I simply fell in love with it, layers of lasagna sheet, which are actually pasta, are infused together with layers of chicken, sauce and cheese and baked to perfection. Every bite was heavenly and yummylicious.
Years later, I decided to try my hand at lasagna and voila..it was a huge success. Like any other dish, lasagna also need some basic ingredients, ground chicken or turkey for chicken lasagna, three types of cheese, ricotta – mozzarella Parmesan, can of crushed tomatoes and basil. You can add spinach too, but it is optional.
Lasagna or pasta sheets : 1 packet
Ground chicken / turkey : 1 pound
Crushed tomatoes : 1 can
Ricotta, mozzarella and shredded parmesan cheese : 1 pack each
Onions (chopped) : 1/2 cup
Garlic cloves : 2 big (chopped)
Tomato paste and sauce : 1/2 cup each
Italian seasonings : 1/2 tsp
Basil : freshly chopped 2 tbsp
Parsley : freshly chopped 1 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Sugar : 2 tbsp
Water : 1/2 cup
Olive oil : 1 tbsp
Preparing the marinara sauce w/o meat :
Heat some oil in a large pot or saucepan, and add the onions and garlic in it. Cook until the onions become translucent, and add the ground chicken in it. Brown for a while till the chicken releases the juices and fats, if any. It will take around 6-8 minutes.
Meanwhile cook the lasagna / pasta sheets as per package instruction.
Add crushed tomatoes in it, cook for few minutes and followed by addition of tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, seasonings. salt and pepper. Add water and cook on medium heat till the sauce thickens. Add the freshly chopped basil leaves, and stir it.
Lower the heat and let it simmer for another 20 -30 minutes until the chicken becomes tender.
Use this time to grate the cheese to make cheese filling.
Building the lasagna :
Use a 9*13 inch baking pan and layer the bottom with one cup of chicken sauce.
Arrange the lasagna noodles over the sauce in an overlapping fashion. You will need 6 noodles to complete a layer.
Spread the ricotta crumbled well with fresh parsley over it. Finish it off with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. This completes a single unit.
Now, repeat it with another two or three layer of chicken sauce, lasagna noodle and cheese filling, ending with meat sauce and finish it off with some extra cheese on top.
Cover it with foil and bake in the pre-heated oven at 350 F for 25 minute.
Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 25 minute.
Allow it to cool for another 10 -15 minutes
Serve warm with extra pouring of turkey sauce or marinara over it.