Lasagna is a very popular Italian dish made with layers of pasta, ricotta cheese and sauce (or in traditional Italian or Greek style, with a white bechamel sauce). Sometimes the sauce has sausage and/or other meats and sometimes not. But believe it or not, lasagna actually originated in Ancient Greece, not Italy. The word lasagna is derived from the word “laganon”, which was the first form of pasta. Laganon was a reference to flat sheets of pasta dough cut into thin strips.
When transforming this lasagna-style dish into a South of the border dish, instead of keeping it with it’s Greek or Italian roots, tortillas are used instead of pasta. Substitute some kind of a salsa for the tomato bolognese type sauce or the bechamel sauce used in traditional Italian or Greek lasagna, and substitute a different kind of cheese, or cheeses, for the ricotta, and … voila, you now have a South of the Border or Southwestern type of “lasagna”. Bothstyless are very good, but are totally different, with totally different and unique personalities. Me personally, I much prefer the Southwestern version. I have never really been a big fan of traditional lasagna though. I made a Southwestern, San Antonio style lasagna for dinner, that I served with simple salad and a Spanish rioja. It is a good thing we liked it, a lot, because we have a lot leftover too.
San Antonio Lasagna
1-1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 onion, diced fine
1 TBSP garlic
1-2 jalapenos, diced fine
2-3 tomatoes, diced fine
2 1/2 cups of either enchilada sauce, salsa, or sauce of your choice – I used some leftover Southwestern cream sauce
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn
3-4 roasted green chilies, diced fine or 1 4.5 oz can
2 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp garlic chili powder, optional
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper to taste
about 15 or small flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese – I used a combination of jalapeno jack and cheddar
1/4 cup green onions
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
Olive oil for cooking
Cook the ground beef, corn, onions, garlic and jalapenos together in olive oil until the onions are translucent and the meat is completely cooked.
Add the beans, tomatoes and salsa of your choice. Mix everything together thoroughly and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Preheat the oven to 350* F or about 180* C.
Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
Layer the bottom of the pan with the tortillas, then add a layer of cheese on top. I used the small, 6″ street taco tortillas, but you can use any kind you like.
Add the meat sauce on top and continue layering the tortillas, cheese and sauce until the pan is full, ending with a layer of tortillas and cheese on top.
Spread the chopped cilantro and green onions on top of the cheese and bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted and a slight crust forms on top.
Let the dish rest for about 5 minutes or so before cutting it, then spoon it up and enjoy. !Esta mui delicioso! !Desfruitas!
Stay healthy and stay safe Everyone. ‘Til next time.