MY FAVORITE LASAGNA

Posted: April 4, 2022 in Uncategorized

Who doesn’t love lasagna? It’s clear, when you look for recipes on line, that there are many versions of this incredibly delicious classic Italian dish. So many have the title “World’s Best,” “Mama’s Best,” or “Most Incredible.”

But as they said in the movie “Highlander…” There can be only one!

In this case, it’s simply a matter of preferences. 

I took my favorite parts of several recipes and weaved them together to make one incredible lasagna.

For me, lasagna has to have a great meat sauce, it has to have ricotta, and it has to have a bechamel sauce. This recipe includes them all.

It takes a bit of work, and a bit of love, but it’s all worth it in the end!

My lasagna starts with the meat sauce…

1 cup minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, out of the casings
1 lb. lean ground beef (I use 93/7 grass-fed beef)
1 (28-oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
2 (6-oz.) cans of tomato paste
2 (8-oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
5 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley (use 4 here, save 1 for the ricotta)

In a a large pot, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and stir for about 10 seconds.

Add the pork and beef and sauté until the meat has browned.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water.

Season with the sugar, Italian seasoning, basil, salt, pepper, fennel and 4 tablespoons of the parsley.

Simmer the sauce, loosely covered, for about 30 minutes.

That gives you enough time to move to the next step.

1 lb. of lasagna sheets

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When salting pasta water, think: the saltiness of ocean water. Add the lasagna sheets and carefully push them down into the water as they soften. Don’t break them!

Cook the lasagna sheets for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are even firmer than al dente, and drain them. Separate them and set them aside.

Next, the ricotta….

1 lb. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, the last tablespoon of parsley and salt. Mix well, and set it aside.

A bechamel sauce is a white sauce that adds even more creaminess to the dish.

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Melt the butter in a sauce pan, then remove the pan off the heat and add the flour. Whisk the flour to incorporate it into the butter, about 30 seconds, making a roux. 

Bring the pan back over the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking all the time to avoid lumps.

Keeping the heat on medium, keep whisking until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Take the sauce off the heat, and mix in the Parmigiano Reggiano. Season with salt and pepper and let the cheese melt into the sauce. Set it aside.

It’s time to put it together! (Don’t panic if you have leftover sauces or pasta at the end of assembly. Everyone makes their lasagna differently, and you can make a mini with all the combined leftovers.)

3/4 pound of mozzarella grated, and standing by

I use a large lasagna pan, about 11 x 14 inches.

First, I put down a layer of the meat sauce to keep the pasta from sticking.

Then I lay down the lasagna sheets in a single layer, overlapping a little so there are no spaces.

A little more meat sauce on top, followed by a layer of bechamel, and a light sprinkling of mozzarella.

Next another layer of slightly overlapping lasagna sheets. More meat sauce…more bechamel…more mozzarella. And now a layer of the ricotta mixture.

Next, one final layer of lasagna sheets, pushing down a bit to make good contact. This layer can be a bit heavier on the pasta, if you want to use the sheets up. Top it with the meat sauce, and a final generous topping of mozzarella. 

Season the top with a little oregano.

You might notice that I put the ricotta on the top of the lasagna. That’s because I forgot to put it in the middle! Thanks goodness my daughter caught the mistake, so I simply put dollops of the ricotta mixture on the top and it came out great! I think I’ll do it this way all the time!

Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 40minutes, or until it’s bubbly and golden brown. Let it cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

This dish can be gluten-free if you change only 2 things: use GF pasta, and GF flour in the bechamel.

So good and gooey!

Comments
  1. […] MY FAVORITE LASAGNA — Live the Live ™ […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.