Lasagna is a popular baked pasta dish, and the types of lasagna are limited only by the imagination. Make traditional lasagnas by alternating layers of meat, cheese and lasagna noodles with or without sauce and oven-baking it until bubbling hot. Lasagna generally falls into three categories: meat, vegetable or cheese. The types of cheeses or meats and how they are combined determine the type of lasagna being served. Other types, such as dessert lasagnas, are continually being created to satisfy the demand for this delightful dish.
Meat lasagna is protein-dense and made with sausage and hamburger, cottage cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, mozzarella and whole eggs. Garlic and onions, classic Italian seasonings and tomato sauce, whole tomatoes and tomato paste comprise the primary ingredients along with the lasagna noodles. Meat lasagna that has been baked until it's bubbly and hot is a delicious and filling meal unto itself.
While cheese lasagna is meatless, it is just as satisfying as the meat variety. Five cheeses of subtly complementary flavors create the foundation for this dish. Mascarpone, ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, provolone and mozzarella cheeses combine for this rich, hearty lasagna. Add Italian seasonings such as chopped oregano and basil leaves, minced garlic and onions, thyme and parsley to properly season the subtle flavors of the cheese.
This dish contains a small amount of mozzarella and ricotta cheese, but for the most part it is made of vegetables, with sliced and grilled eggplant acting as the traditional lasagna noodles. The flavor is enhanced by the addition of canola and olive oil with balsamic vinegar and the appropriate Italian seasonings. Cut the vegetable lasagna into squares and top it with a generous spoonful of homemade walnut pesto sauce for a delicious meal.
Dessert lasagna is unusual enough to be a conversation starter. It is rich and filling and is typically served in small squares on a dessert dish drizzled with dark chocolate. Ricotta cheese, sugar, cocoa and eggs are blended together, and then chocolate chips and orange zest are stirred into the mix. The bottom of the casserole dish is spread with this mixture, which is topped with pistachio nuts and then a layer of egg noodles. The process is repeated until the casserole dish is full. Bake the lasagna for 35 to 40 minutes and top it with coarsely grated white chocolate. Not only is the lasagna rich and delicious, but the presentation is also stunning.
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