Lasagne: a perfect cold weather meal

When the temperature dips into the single numbers and a chilling wind blows briskly outside, thoughts turn toward warm, hearty meals. Lasagne is a perfect choice, and is easy for someone who is working to prepare the night before, and freeze what is not eaten for a later meal.

This recipe comes from the ''Fanner Farmer Cookbook,'' revised by Marion Cunningham (Knopf). Lasagne 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup chopped onions 1/3 cup chopped carrots 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 pound lean ground beef 3 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes 3 tablespoons butter, melted 1 teaspoon oregano, crumbled 1 tablespoon basil, crumbled 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1/2 pound lasagna noodles, cooked 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, grated 2 cups ricotta cheese 1/4 pound freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in skillet. Add onions, carrots, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until they are lightly browned. Push to side of pan and add beef. Break it into bits, cooking until it loses its pink color. Puree tomatoes in blender or food processor, add to meat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add butter, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper, partially cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Assemble lasagne by drizzling some sauce over bottom of shallow rectangular baking dish. Put in a layer of noodles, sprinkle with some mozzarella, and spread on a layer of ricotta. Make another layer of noodles, sauce, mozzarella, and ricotta. Finish with noodles and sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over top and bake 20 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Serves 6.

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