Friday, December 17, 2010

World's Best Lasagna

I didn't make up that name- it came with this recipe. :) You may remember me discussing this recipe a long time ago here. The first time I made this recipe it was seriously AMAZING. I bought all organic/fresh (i.e. EXPENSIVE) ingredients from Central Market. The second time I went to the other end of the spectrum with bargain ingredients from H-E-B- no bueno. This time I bought everything from H-E-B but with slightly higher quality. It turned out a lot better than last time, but according to the bf, it was still not up to par with the first version..sigh. :( I think it may also need MORE CHEESE and more spices (maybe a bay leaf?). Next time I'll try to change it up.... The sauce is also yummy on its own though with some pasta!

Everyone says lasagnas are better the second day, and I do have to say it has provided several tasty lunches for me last week! It also freezes well.

World's Best Lasagna
Makes about 12 servings
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced white onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 TBSP white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil (fresh is better!)
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 TBSP fresh parsley chopped
  • 8-12 lasagna noodles (fresh pasta is best if you can find it)
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In large pot or dutch oven, cook meat, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is browned.

Drain grease, if desired. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and water. Season with basil, sugar, fennel, Italian seasoning, 1/2 TBSP salt pepper and 2 TBSP parsley.

Simmer on low, covered, at least 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. If you have time, leave it on for longer. While sauce is simmering, soak lasagna noodles (only if using dried noodles) in large bowl of hot water for 20-30 minutes, until soft. drain and set aside.

In a bowl mix ricotta cheese, 1/2 tsp salt, dash nutmeg, egg and remaining 2 TBSP parsley- set in fridge until ready to use.

You can also use this time to slice your cheese, if it did not come pre-sliced. It's a lot cheaper to buy a block- and hey, what do you know? I happen to have a handy-dandy cheese slicer volunteering for the job!

Preheat oven to 375 when the sauce is almost ready. To assemble lasagna, use a 13x9 dish and layer as follows:
  1. Scoop 1 1/2 cups meat sauce into bottom of pan
  2. Arrange 4-6 noodles lengthwise across pan (Mine were thin and fit kinda weird)
  3. Spread with 1/2 ricotta cheese mixture
  4. Top with 1/3 mozzarella cheese slices
  5. Top with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Repeat layers and top with remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil (spray underside with cooking spray to avoid sticking) and bake 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

If you make this, please let me know how it turns out for you! :) Enjoy!


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