Lasagna

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It’s been a few weeks since my last post, but I have been BUSY. My husband and I have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather we’ve been getting and have been doing a lot of things around the house like painting and preparing my garden for the upcoming season. I will talk more about the garden in another post because this post is solely devoted to lasagna.

Lasagna, Mmmmm. I once heard lasagna described as “spaghetti flavored cake”, but it is much more than that. Yeah, it involves sauce and noodles, but what about the cheesy goodness that’s also inside? The cheese layer is always my favorite part because without it then it would be just pasta in a casserole dish. Last year, my husband requested that I try to make lasagna. I had it on my mind a couple of times, but I was always afraid to make it. I had never ever had homemade lasagna until I made this recipe. Growing up, I always ate the store-bought, frozen lasagnas. You know, the lasagna that always took 2 hours to make because no one ever thinks to de-thaw lasagna (or at least not me)?

When I made lasagna for the first time I’ll admit it was a daunting task. There were so many ingredients involved and the sauce, alone, took an hour and a half to make, BUT it was so worth the effort and wait. We have had this recipe only a handful of times, not because we don’t like it, we love it, but we didn’t want to tire of it too quickly. I’m guilty of making recipes multiple times because I really like them and as a result my family suffers in eating it over and over again. This recipe has become the go-to recipe for our family and I hope maybe it’ll become yours too. Be warned, however, that this recipe makes a lot. Anytime I make meals for dinner we always, always have left-overs unless it’s pizza. I like to make things in bulk or find recipes that I know I can stretch into the week and as a result we eat a lot of left-overs in our family which is nice for me because one, I usually only cook 3 or 4 times a week and two, it saves our family money. With our family of four, this recipe lasts us up to 3 days.

1. For the sauce: Brown the sausage and ground beef together with minced onion and garlic. Drain, and then add in your crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water.

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2.  Add in all the spices

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cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package directions. I always take a shortcut with this step and just let the noodles soak in really hot water while I’m preparing the other ingredients.

4. In a small mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, salt, and parsley.

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5. Assemble the lasagna: place enough sauce on the bottom of your baking dish to cover it with a thin layer (anywhere from 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups). Arrange the noodles over the sauce

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6. Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and 1/3 of the sliced mozzarella.

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7. Spread more sauce on top of  the cheese layer, sprinkle it with grated Parmesan cheese and repeat the layers

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Top the lasagna with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses

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and bake it 25 minutes covered and 25 minutes uncovered. Let the lasagna cool at least 15 minutes before serving and enjoy it with some garlic bread. 🙂

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Lasagna

(Adapted from All Recipes: World’s Best Lasagna)

Ingredients

-1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage                              – 1 tsp. Italian seasoning

-1 lb. ground beef                                                  – 1 tsp. salt

-1/2 cup minced onion                                       – 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

-2 cloves crushed garlic                                     – 4 tsp. dried parsley, divided

-1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes                   – 12-15 lasagna noodles

-2 (6 oz.) cans tomato paste                             – 32 oz.  ricotta cheese

– 2 (6.5 oz.) cans tomato sauce                        – 2 eggs

– 1/2 cup water                                                       -1 tsp. salt

– 2 tbsp. sugar                                                         – 1 lb. mozzarella cheese

– 1tsp. fennel seeds                                                -1 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for topping

– 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil

Directions

1. In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the sausage and ground beef with the garlic and onion. Drain the grease and stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Add in the sugar, fennel seeds, basil, Italian seasoning, 1 tsp. salt, black pepper, and 2 tsp. parsley. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let the mixture simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Prepare the noodles. In a small mixing bowl combine the ricotta cheese, eggs,  1 tsp. salt, and 2 tsp. parsley.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

4. Once the sauce is finished, start assembling the lasagna. Spread 1 1/2 – 2 cups of sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Arrange the noodles over the meat, overlapping slightly and spread half of the ricotta mixture on top. Place 1/3 of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta mixture, spread more of the meat sauce on top, and then sprinkle 1/2 cup of Parmesan on top. Repeat the layers ending with the meat sauce. Top the lasagna with the remaining mozzarella and sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top. Cover the lasagna with foil, making sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

6. Bake the lasagna in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking it for another 25 minutes, until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling. Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes and then enjoy! 🙂

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