Friday, November 9, 2012

World's Best Lasagna

Growing up I wasn’t the biggest fan of lasagna. I thought it was just okay, but it wasn’t something I craved. I think the ricotta cheese was something I didn’t enjoy. For me; it was a bit too tangy. Maybe if it had more cheese in it than ricotta I would have enjoyed it more. Fast-forward 20 years later; and I have become a big fan of lasagna. I think the reason for this is now I can look for my own recipes and try them myself. Plus, I can add a ton of cheese if I so desire. Well, a while back I came across this recipe.
It had great reviews, and though the recipe seemed a bit daunting with all the ingredients;I was eager to give it a whirl. I’m really glad I did. It’s probably the best lasagna I’ve ever had. You make your own meat sauce, it has a ton of cheese (and, yes, even ricotta), and it makes a ton of it. I made this the other night; and my Dad raved that it’s one of the best things he’s ever had even in restaurants. So, go make it and you will not regret it one bit. Enjoy!

1 lb. sweet Italian Sausage (or just regular Italian sausage)
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
½ cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 (6 oz) cans tomato sauce
½ cup water
2 tbsp white sugar
1 ½ tsp dried basil leaves
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
½ tsp salt
¾ lb. mozzarella cheese
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

First, get out your Dutch oven or large pot; and sauté the ground beef, sausage, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Next, stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water. Then, season with the sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp of the parsley. Simmer, covered, for about an hour and a half. Stir occasionally.

About an hour and fifteen minutes into the sauce simmering; take out a large pot and pour water and a little salt to cook the noodles in. Bring to a boil and cook the lasagna noodles for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl; combine the ricotta cheese, egg, ½ tsp salt, and remaining parsley. Stir well.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Get out a 9x13 baking dish and pour 1 ½ cups of the meat sauce into the bottom of the dish. Spread the meat sauce. Next, arrange 6 of the noodles lengthwise across the meat sauce and spread half the ricotta mixture over the noodles, evenly. Top with a third of the mozzarella slices and then spoon 1 ½ cups of the meat sauce over the mozzarella and sprinkle ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Take some foil out to cover the baking dish; but first spray the foil with cooking spray so the cheese does not stick. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Then, remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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