Monday, November 15, 2010

World's Best Lasagna

The following recipe may sound like a lot of work with a lot of ingredients, but it’s really easy to make. And it is so good! I also use the sauce on homemade pizza, spaghetti and other pasta dishes. Perfect for make-ahead and freeze meals.

SAUCE:
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
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12 no-boil lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Note: I also let this simmer all day in the crockpot.)
 
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

To assemble, spread 1-1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1-1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, spray inside of foil with cooking spray.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Adapted from AllRecipes.com

MAKE-AHEAD MEAL: Tightly cover baking dish with foil and plastic wrap. Freeze up to one month. DO NOT BAKE before freezing. When ready to heat and serve, let thaw completely overnight in fridge and follow baking instructions above.

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