Introduction: Delicious Lasagna
This is the lasagna that I’ve been making for years, and it never fails to get absolutely rave reviews from anyone who tries it. With a mix of fresh and pre-made ingredients, it’s a simple recipe that you’ll simply love.
Step 1: Equipment
- 1 13x9x2 in. baking pan
- 1 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven, with lid
- 1 Large pot
- Cutting board
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring spoons
- Aluminum foil or waxed paper
- Cheese grater (fine)
- Various utensils (spatula, stirring spoon, knife such as a chef's knife for cutting and dicing)
Step 2: Ingredients
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- ½ lb. ground sweet Italian sausage
- ¾ box of lasagna noodles
- 2 14-oz. cans of stewed tomatoes
- 1 12-oz. can of tomato paste
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 16-oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed or thinly sliced
- 8-oz. parmigiano reggiano, finely grated
- 15-oz. ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. oregano
- ½ tsp. thyme
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
Step 3: Instructions
Tip:Cooking goes much smoother when you prepare your ingredients first. Grate your cheese, mince and dice your vegetables, and have your spices ready to go. Trust me, it’s much more efficient than doing it all as you go. (Prep time: 20 minutes)
1. In a 12-inch skillet or 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef, sausage, and diced onion until the meat is browned and most of the pan juices have evaporated. (Cooking time: 15 minutes)
2. Add tomatoes, breaking them up if necessary, then add the tomato paste. Slowly stir or fold the tomato paste into the other ingredients until everything is well blended.
3. Add garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper and bay leaf to the pan. Mix well. (Time for steps 2 and 3: 5 minutes)
4. Heat your mixture to boiling, then reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Then, remove bay leaf and spoon off any excess fat that might have accumulated on the sauce. Remove pan from heat and let sit, covered. (Time: 45 minutes)
5. In large pot, cook the lasagna noodles as the label directs, usually 10-12 minutes. Shoot for the lower time limit if you prefer the noodles al dente, and be sure to stir to separate the noodles. Drain well in a colander. (Note: Adding a few drops of olive oil to the water can help keep your lasagna noodles from sticking.)
6. Run cool water over the noodles and remove them from the colander one at a time, laying them out flat on a sheet of aluminum foil or waxed paper. This will keep them from curling or folding up, and they’ll be easier to work with. (Time: 5 minutes)
7. Preheat oven to 350°F.
8. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together your two eggs and the ricotta cheese. Set aside.
9. In the 13x9 inch baking pan, arrange half of the noodles, overlapping to fit.
10. Spoon half of the egg and ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles, using the spoon or a rubber spatula to gently spread the mixture for even coverage. Then, arrange half of the sliced or cubed mozzarella cheese over the layer of ricotta.
11. Spoon half of the sauce over the mozzarella, again being careful to cover it as evenly as possible. Sprinkle half of the grated parmigiano reggiano over the sauce.
12. Repeat your layers. (Total time for layering: 5 minutes)
13. Bake in 350°-oven for 45 minutes, then remove and let set for 10 minutes before serving. (Time: 55 minutes)
Note on substitutions: Some of the ingredients can be substituted, such as pre-grated parmesan cheese or a parmesan/romano blend for the parmigiano reggiano. Garlic powder can be substituted for the minced garlic, and fresh herbs can be used in place of the dried. Cottage cheese, if you prefer it, can be substituted for the ricotta, though it will change the consistency of the dish. And of course, you can always use pre-shredded, packaged mozzarella if you don't have the time to spend slicing or cubing a fresher variety. If you don't like the sausage, just add an extra half pound of ground beef.