Mexican Lasagna

Lasagna is a classic, versatile dish which can be made ahead of time and frozen. Cayenne and Tellicherry peppercorns provide the heat for this spicy version. Freshly ground peppercorns release essential oils which enhance the flavor.

    9 curly edged extra-wide lasagna noodles

Meat Layer

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 pound lean ground beef
    1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
    1 cup sliced white mushrooms
    2 teaspoons seasoning salt
    1 tablespoon dried oregano
    2 tablespoons dried basil
    ¼ teaspoon freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns
    ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
    2 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    1 (14 ½-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
    1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
    1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
    1 cup water

Cheese Layer

    1 (15-ounce) container ricotta cheese
    1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
    ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon dried parsley
    ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns
    ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
    2 large eggs


    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1.  Bring water to a boil in a 12-quart stockpot. Cook noodles.

2.  Meat layer: In a 5-quart sauté pan, brown the beef in oil over
     medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms; cook 10 minutes.
3.  Measure seasoning salt, oregano and basil, into a mortar 
     and grind with pestle. Add to meat with pepper, cayenne, garlic
     and parsley. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and 
     water. Cook 5 minutes, remove from heat or
     the sauce will dry out.

4.  Noodles should be done; drain and cover with cold water.

5.  Cheese layer: In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, mozzarella,     
     parmesan, parsley, pepper, garlic salt and eggs.

6.  Place 3 drained noodles in the base of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass     
      baking dish. Pour half the meat sauce over noodles. Top with    
     half of the cheese mixture. You won't be able to cover every
     inch of the sauce. Top with more noodles and the rest of the
     sauce and cheese. Finish with the last 3 noodles. Sprinkle
     with toppings. Bake in preheated 350
° oven 30-45 minutes.     

     Makes 8 servings.