Sunday, April 24, 2011

Diary of a Secret Housewife: Matzo Lasagna

When you're Jewish, you don't get to hunt for Easter eggs (though I suppose finding the Afikomen comes close) or hang out with the Easter bunny.  But that's not to say we don't have some fun times around this time of year, like figuring out a creative way to eat matzo come the sixth day of Passover, when you've already exhausted all other matzo + topping combinations.  This year, on the advice of a colleague, I discovered matzo lasagna.

I know, I know.  You're skeptical.  As was I.  And I had to counsel my husband to keep an open mind before he would even touch it.

But you know what?  It's delicious.  Moreover, although it tastes like matzo lasagna right out of the oven, once the ingredients come together overnight, the leftovers really taste like regular lasagna.  It's a Passover miracle!  It's actually a solid enough dish that I'd make it even if it weren't Passover.  

 I improvised the recipe based on a number of matzo lasagna recipes on the web.  Once you have the basic procedure down, you can get creative and put together your own favorite lasagna flavors.

Here's what you need at a minimum:

6 matzo sheets
1 (24 ounce) carton ricotta cheese
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella, asiago, or parmesan cheese, divided
1 (28 ounce) jar marinara (or your favorite jarred or homemade pasta) sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the matzo by soaking the sheets in hot water for about 30 seconds, or until the matzo is pliable but not mushy.  Don't oversoak, or else they'll break apart.  Then set them on a dish towel and let them rest until they become bendable.

Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with a shallow layer of sauce, then place upon that two matzo sheets (or however many fits neatly in the dish).  Layer upon it half the ricotta, mixed with a sprinkling of the shredded cheese.  Then put on another layer of sauce.  Alternate matzo, filling, and sauce until you get the desired thickness/layers.  Your top layer should be matzo covered with a thick sprinkling of shredded cheese.  Bake the lasagna in the oven for 30-40 minutes until bubbly and delicious.

Improvisations: The above recipe is super basic (and probably not that delicious).  I spiffed it up with my favorite lasagna fillings: ground beef (or meat substitute), four cheeses, fresh herbs, spinach, onions, etc.  For a less Italian-American and more Sephardic take on this dish, try the filling combinations from this NPR article on minas, the Middle Eastern version of matzo lasagna.

Chag sameach!


lobster April 25, 2011 at 10:13 AM  

oh interesting! I never would have thought to make matzo into lasagna. that looks pretty good to me!

BigAppleNosh April 25, 2011 at 1:09 PM  

Yum! Looks delish! :) I think if I were to make this, I'd try the spinach route!

violarulz/ducksandbooks April 25, 2011 at 10:35 PM  

mushrooms make a great (kosher) meat substitute that is kosher for passover. my husband is MUCH more observant than I am and is teaching me all about the annoying rules of kitnyot. blech. no soy meat for me :(

lavenderpug May 2, 2011 at 9:23 AM  

i never knew you could soak matzo and make it bendy. the lasagna looks delicious--i'm totally surprised!

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