Homemade Lasagna

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If I could eat Italian food for every meal I would. Pasta for breakfast sounds way better then oatmeal or eggs to me. I have always loved Lasagna. My mom would always make it when my grandparents came to visit. It’s such a great crowd pleasing meal that can be made in advance.

Now this recipe is not my mom’s. Her recipe came from the back of the pasta box. Although delicious you wont see me make a lasagna recipe that contains cottage cheese in place of ricotta…. sorry mom! This recipe has, ground beef, Italian sausage, ricotta, fresh basil and lots of cheese!! I’ll also share a trick for avoiding soggy noodles. Believe me this recipe is worth the effort.

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So my tips for this recipe are….

  1. Find the biggest pan you can! If you can get a pan thats actually called a lasagna pan that’s the best this to use since this makes a large quantity. I use the deepest 13×9 baking dish I own and always have a little bit left over. SO the bigger the better!
  2. Double or even triple the recipe. Make up a few lasagnas in foil baking dishes and stock your freezer. I wouldn’t call this recipe hard, but it is time consuming so you might as well batch cook.
  3. Throw a parmesan rind into your meet sauce. Now this is totally optional, so if you don’t have one no worries. If you do have a parmesan rind (I freeze my leftover rinds) throw it in to simmer with your sauce it will add incredible flavour.
  4. Either use fresh lasagna noodles or quick soak your dried pasta. Ok so I hate cooking lasagna sheets, they always tear and my largest pot is already being used to simmer the meat sauce. So I have two options for you, the first is using fresh pasta. This stuff cooks so fast you don’t need to boil it! It can be pretty pricy though so I normally opt for option two, quick soaking regular lasagna noodles. I put the noodles in a large pan, cover the noodles with boiling hot water for 2-3 minutes. This will soften the noodles but they will still have a nice structure, and they don’t soak up too much sauce as the lasagna bakes.
  5. My fifth and final tip is that fresh is best! Fresh cheese and fresh basil! Get your self a basil plant, they are the best! Basil is one of the only herbs I refuse to use dried. In my opinion if you only have dried basil you might as well not use any at all. Secondly your cheese should be either deli sliced, or freshly grated by you! Pre grated cheese has a weird powder on it and it impacts the flavour of the cheese so buying a block is best (and cheaper!)

So now you have a fews tip on how I make this lasagna, its really so good!

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Homemade Lasagna

Yields: 12 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Italian Sausage (I use spicy, but sweet is also delicious!)
  • 2 Pounds Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 White Onion, finely diced
  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 2 (28 oz) Cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 (6 oz) Cans Tomato Paste
  • 1 (15 oz) Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine (Chianti and Pino Noir are my favourites)
  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • Parmesan Cheese Rind (optional)
  • 1 Pound Lasagna Noodles
  • 16 Ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Pound Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/4 Cups Fresh Parmesan Cheese, grated

Directions:

In a large pot or dutch oven brown sausage and ground beef over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent, browning and fragrant (5 minutes). Add red wine to deglaze the pan. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato past and tomato sauce. Bring sauce to a simmer. Add sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and parmesan rind to the pot. Cover and simmer on low heat for at least 1.5 hours. Remove parmesan rind before using.

In a medium sized bowl combine ricotta, egg, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Mix to combine and set aside. Place noodles in a large pan, pour boiling water over the noodles and soak for 2-3 minutes. Remove noodles from the pan, place in a colander and rinse with cold water. Place shredded mozzarella and remaining shredded parmesan together in a bowl, Mix to combine and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 ° F.

Assemble your lasagna. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with 1 cup of meat sauce. Cover sauce with 6 lasagna noodles. Layer one half of the ricotta mixture, gently spread. Sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese mixture. Top with 1 1/2 cups of meat  sauce, and sprinkle another layer of cheese. Repeat layers. Top the final layer of noodles with remaining meat sauce and cheese.

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Adapted from All Recipes.

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