Cooler weather seems to call for hot comfort food and what is possibly more comforting than lasagna? Making lasagna isn’t difficult but it is time-consuming. Allow at least 3 hours prior to when you plan to serve it. The great thing is that you can prepare it ahead of time and cook it an hour before the meal. This makes quite a bit of lasagna. The last time I made it the three of us had it for dinner for 3 meals.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound mild Italian sausage
- ½ onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 eight-ounce (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
- 1 twenty-eight ounce (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 six-ounce (6 oz) cans tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil, minced (or 2 tablespoons dried)
- 4 tablespoons fresh oregano, stems removed (or 2 Tablespoons dried)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 package lasagna noodles (I like Barilla best)
- 2 eight ounce containers of ricotta cheese (whole milk is most flavorful)
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (or 1 ½ tablespoons dried)
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced thin)
- 1 pound parmesan cheese, grated
- Place lasagna noodles in a 9×13 casserole dish and pour hot water over them until they are covered. Crumble ground beef and Italian sausage (without casings) in a large pot and cook until brown. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook until they are translucent. Open the cans of tomato sauce, paste and crushed tomatoes and add them to the mixture.
- Add the sugar and spices and water. Continue cooking for at least ½ hour.
- Bring out a second 9 x 13 casserole dish or remove the noodles from the first one and dry the dish out. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Mix the ricotta cheese with egg and parsley. Add ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese. Turn off the heat under the sauce.
- You are now ready to assemble the lasagna. Start with covering the bottom of the dish with a light coat of sauce. Place lasagna noodles lengthwise. You may cut noodles to fit the bottom of the dish. Add 1/3 of ricotta mixture and gently smear on noodles. Sprinkle ¼ of remaining parmesan and 1/3 of mozzarella slices. Cover with light amount of sauce. Place noodles on top of sauce and repeat. The last layer of noodles should just have plenty of sauce followed by mozzarella cheese and parmesan.
- Lightly cover the lasagna with foil wrap, attempting not to touch the cheese. Place the dish on a cookie sheet to catch spills and slide it gently in the preheated oven. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the dish (with cookie sheet) and place on range. Uncover the lasagna, scraping any cheese that sticks off the foil and place it back on the lasagna. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
- During the last 5-8 minutes place foil wrapped Italian bread in the oven (I slice it in generous pieces).
- Bring the lasagna out and let it sit for at least 5 minutes so that cheese can set.
- Serve with a salad and hot bread.