Christmas Eve at my house is left to last minute gift wrapping, dogs eating bottom branches of the tree, running out to CVS at midnight, and on the less stressful note watch a classic Christmas film and eat some delicious food. Traditionally in Italy one only eats fish because we are technically “fasting”….but since eating 7 courses of fish isn’t technically fasting, I will neither be fasting nor eating only fish. So Michael and I have prepared a festive Christmas Eve lasagna filled with tomato sauce, ground lamb, leeks, mushroom, and delicious ricotta cheese.
Enjoy this lasagna with your loved ones, maybe around the fire place and next to the tree!
Ingredients: use a 9”x13” baking tray
1 box oven bake ready lasagna pasta sheets
5 cups diced tomato in their juice
8 oz. tomato paste
3 cups sliced button tomatoes
2 lbs. ground lamb
2 medium leeks
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
¾ teaspoon salt
1 lb. ricotta
2 cups shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get all of your mise en place set up. Start by chopping the leeks. To do this cut the root off, then cut where the light green starts to turn dark. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and take one layer off. Holding the halves intact, run them under water to get all of the dirt out. Now placing the cut side down, thinly slice the leeks into half-moon pieces. Next pull the stems out of your mushrooms, rinse, and slice into ¼ inch slices. Lastly dice up as finely as possible all of your garlic.
In a large sauce pan heat your olive oil. Once the olive oil gets to a searing temperature, put all of your ground lamb into the pan and cook all the way through, about 7 mins, stirring with a wooden spoon. Now take your meat out of the pan and drain all the fat through a colander, and place the meat back in the pan. Add leeks, cook about 5 minutes, next add garlic. Once the garlic starts to brown a bit add all of your tomato paste and stir, cook for one minute. Add tomatoes and their juices along with salt, and lower the heat to medium and let cook for about 25 minutes.
Mix ricotta and all but a ¼ cup of mozzarella together in a small mixing bowl.
Once your meat mix is done cooking, and your cheese is mixed, begin your assembly of the lasagna. Start by laying some meat sauce down, then cheese, then evenly lay out the raw mushroom. Top with pasta sheets. Repeat with meat, cheese, mushrooms, pasta two more times. Once you are done layering your ingredients take the last ¼ cup of mozzarella and sprinkle over the top layer.
You are now ready to cook. Cover the lasagna with a sheet of aluminum foil and place in oven and cook for 50 minutes. After the 50 minutes are up, remove the foil and cook for another 15 minutes to allow the cheese to create a nice brown crust!
Your wonderful lasagna is ready to be eaten! Merry Christmas!