Pastelon ("Puerto Rican Lasagna")
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This recipe makes 5 to 6 cups sofrito.
- 2 medium Spanish onions, chopped
- 4 cubanelle peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded and chopped
- 6 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed
- 10 aji dulce peppers
- 4 culantro leaves
- 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
- 6 very ripe sweet plantains (maduros)
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup sofrito
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 Sazon con Azafran, such as Goya (saffron seasoning)
- Adobo seasoning, to taste
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1/3 cup alcaparrado or green olives
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
For the sofrito, place ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Reserve ¼ cup, then refrigerate the remaining sofrito in a mason jar for another use or freeze.
For the lasagna, preheat oven to 350˚F.
In a large skillet, heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium. Once hot, working in batches, add the halved plantains and cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove plantains to a plate.
In another large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the reserved sofrito, tomato paste, sazon and a dash of adobo. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and alcaparrado, and cook until beef is lightly browned. Remove skillet from eat and reserve.
To assemble Pastelon, using a pastry brush, brush the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some of the egg. Arrange ½ of the fried plantains on the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with beef mixture, then with shredded mozzarella, and arrange remaining fried plantains on top. Brush the top layer of plantains with more egg. Bake for 25 minutes. Let rest before serving.