Who Loves Lasagna?

 Lasagna

What’s not to love about a hearty, satisfying serving of Lasagna made with slow simmered meat sauce and 3 kinds of cheese? Lasagna is a great crowd pleaser and has the added advantage of being a meal that can be made in advance. Pop it into the oven, toss up a salad, add some garlic bread, and your guests will be saying bellissimo!

Lasagna = Love

I actually cooked up this lasagna because my dear hubby asked for it, not because I was entertaining a crowd. Usually when I’m planning meals for the week, he says whatever I decide to make will be fine. When he actually does have a request, my first reaction is, of course honey, I’d be happy to! But lasagna, are you sure? It is kind of a lot of work, and it makes so many servings.

But the actual steps aren’t too hard. Brown the meat and onions, throw in the rest of the sauce ingredients and let it simmer for 90 minutes. You may be tempted to go less than 90 minutes, but please don’t. It needs the full cooking time, to get the thick, rich flavor. Boil some noodles, stir up the ricotta mixture, assembly and bake. Not so bad, right? OK, face it. We cook lasagna because we want to nurture the ones we love, not because it’s a 5 ingredient meal we can cook in 30 minutes or less.

So what did we do with the extra 10 servings we had after our initial meal? Thank goodness for the amazing invention called the vacuum sealer! After letting the lasagna cool, I stuck it in refrigerator overnight so it could be cut easily the next day. After cutting it into individual servings, I popped them into the freezer on a cookie sheet to firm them up a bit. Then Mike vacuum sealed and froze them (so actually it was a team effort.) Hurrah for an abundance of “easy button” meals in the future when zero effort will be required!

Lasagna

Serving Size: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tables white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • In dutch, oven cook sausage, ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Simmer covered for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook lasagna noodles according to package directions (about 10 minutes.) Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.
  • In a mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese with lightly beaten egg and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • To assemble, spread 2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish (I recommend glass.) Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with 1/2 of the ricotta mixture. Top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 2 cups of meat sauce over mozzarella and sprinkle with 1/2 of the Parmesan. Top with remaining noodles, spread remaining ricotta mixture and top with 1/3 of the mozzarella. Top with remaining sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover pan with foil which has been sprayed with cooking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking.
  • Bake covered for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 - 20 minutes prior to cutting and serving. Note - my 9x13 pan was very full so I placed it on a baking sheet before putting it in the oven.

Notes

If you want to make this a day in advance, refrigerate after assembling. Then remove and let set on the counter for 1 hour before baking. Finish baking according to instructions above. You can also make the lasagna in advance and freeze, if you are not serving it the next day. In this case, increase baking time to 2 hours, leaving it covered until last 30 minutes.

http://itsthyme2cook.com/seasonalrecipes/lasagna/

2 thoughts on “Who Loves Lasagna?

    • I am sure they would! It may look like it takes all day , but it’s actually about a 3 hours. File this one away in the recipe category ” perhaps down the road when life is less hectic.” 😉

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