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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lasagna

So this is easy.  Really.  There are tons of variations to your basic lasagna recipe but this is the way I like to make mine.

Remember that marinara sauce I made the other day?  I made it for this lasagna.  It was tasty. 

Brown up some ground beef and ground sausage.  The proportions of each are completely up to you.  I use about 2/3 beef to 1/3 sausage.  Roughly. 
Make sure to drain the fat.  Gross.

Add enough marinara sauce to the meat so that it is more meaty than saucy.  Just to moisten it a bit.

Set that to the side and find yourself a 9x13 baking dish.  Put a little sauce on the bottom of the dish and coat the whole bottom surface with it.  This will keep the noodles from sticking to the bottom of your dish.

Set that to the side while you prepare your cheesy filling.  Mmmm.  Cheese.
In a large bowl combine the entire contents of 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese, 1 egg, half of your shredded mozzarella, some Parmesan cheese, if you like (I didn't have any), and some dried basil or Italian seasoning.
Give it a good mix.
Set it to the side and grab your noodles.  I like to use the 'no-boil' kind.  It makes my life worth living.  But I've tried substituting the 'no-boil' for regular noodles and you know what?  No difference.  If you're a risk taker, try not boiling your lasagna noodles first.  It makes for a nicely layered, not-at-all runny lasagna.  Good stuff.
Layer a few noodles on the bottom of your sauced up baking dish.
NOTE* I do not care if my noodles all lay in the same direction. 

Throw down about half of your meat mixture and spread it evenly over the noodles.  Then plop about half of the cheese mixture directly on top of that.


Carefully, spread the cheese mixture over the entire surface.  No need for perfection, here.

Repeat this process to create a second layer of noodles, then meat, then cheese.  Top with a third layer of noodles.  Spread some more marinara over the last noodle layer.  Be a little more generous with the sauce on this top layer just to ensure that there is enough moisture for those noodles to absorb.  Nobody likes dried, hard lasagna. 

Top with the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Cover tightly with foil and pop this into the oven at 350 degrees for about 50-60 minutes.
Delicious!

Lasagna Recipe
1 lb ground beef/sausage (any ratio that appeals to you)
3 cups marinara sauce, divided
1 box lasagna noodles
1 32 oz container ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 tbsp dried basil or Italian seasoning
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, optional

Brown and drain meat in a skillet.  Add about 1 cup of marinara sauce to the meat and set aside.  To a 9x13 baking dish, add about 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and coat the bottom of the dish.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, combine ricotta, egg, 1 cup of mozzarella, Parmesan, and herbs.  Stir to combine and set aside.  Begin layering the lasagna by laying down 1/3 of the noodles to the bottom of the baking dish, followed by 1/2 of the meat mixture (spreading evenly over the surface of the noodles), followed by 1/2 of the cheese mixture (spreading evenly over the surface of the meat mixture).  Repeat the layering process a second time.  Add the remaining 1/3 of the noodles to the top of the lasagna and top with the rest of the marinara sauce.  Spread the sauce over the top layer of noodles making sure that there are no dry spots.  Sprinkle on the remaining mozzarella cheese.  Tightly cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.  Allow lasagna to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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