Friday, October 28, 2011

Recipe time: Lasagna cups with homemade marinara (with gluten free option)

Lasagna Cups (with gluten free option)
Photo by Payje Bier Photography (www.p-b-photography.com)
These are yum yum yum, so good I made them for dinner 2 days in a row!  One night was for a pot luck with my friendsies, and the next night was just because I had leftover stuff and they came out so good the first time!  What makes these little lasagnas so unique is that you use wonton wrappers (not for gluten free ones!) instead of noodles.  They cook up just like noodles though, and if you leave the corners out they crisp up and get really delish.  I adapted this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything, but made some changes, including making my own marinara (which is super cheap and delicious).  These are a fun way to eat a traditional favorite!

What you need:
Marinara:
3 cloves garlic, minced
A good dash of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, very finely diced
A couple shakes of red pepper flakes 
1 28 oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes with basil
2 tsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste (be generous)

Lasagna Cups
Homemade marinara sauce, recipe below
1/2-3/4 lb ground beef
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 box mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbs butter
1 package wonton wrappers (you will use 24 for 12 lasagnas)
1 package shredded mozzerella
Parmesan cheese
Small container Ricotta 

What you do:
Marinara
In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Simmer onions in oil for about 2 minutes, then add garlic and pepper flakes and continue cooking 2 more minutes.
Empty tomatoes into a separate bowl, juice and all, and mash those babies up!  You can use your hands, a potato masher, a fork, whatevs!
Add tomatoes, honey, salt and pepper to pan and simmer 30-45 minutes. 

Lasagna Cups:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Brown meat in a large skillet, adding basil, oregano, cayenne and salt and pepper to taste.
Drain meat and set aside
In a separate, smaller pan, sautee mushrooms with butter and garlic salt.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until juices are released and then reabsorbed.
Grease 2 muffin tins with butter or cooking spray.
Take 2 wonton wrappers positioned in a diamond shape, and overlap them a little bit.  Then press them down into the bottom of a muffin cup.
Add a pinch of mozzarella and parmesan as the bottom layer of the cup.
Next, add a light layer of sauce, then sprinkle on beef.
Add about 1 tsp of ricotta, then sprinkle mushrooms on top.
Finish with another layer of marinara, then cover with another layer of mozzarella and parmesan.
Remember that the layers have to be small enough to fit everything in!
Repeat this method for each cup.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until tips are very golden brown and cups start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Use a knife to separate any burnt on cheese, then you should be able to gently pick them up out of the tins with your hands.  
Enjoy! 

Gluten free version:
All you have to do to make this recipe gluten free is to change the noodle choice.  I did not make the gluten free version myself, but I am pretty sure that this method will work just fine:
1 box gluten free lasagna noodles
Partially cook noodles, only to the point that they are flexible.
Push them down into the pan, but DON'T leave any edges sticking out.  They will be way to tough to eat.
Make sure that you use extra sauce, and start out with a first layer of sauce before anything else.  If you don't, your cups may dry out.  Gluten free lasagna noodles are notorious for being a little chewy and dry, so you have to make sure you have enough sauce there to hydrate them.
Other than that, you should be good to go!  You may or may not need to cook them a little bit longer.  



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