The Best Ever Italian Lasagna

Today marks my 1st post of 2011, Happy New Year everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve touched base and the holidays entailed a lot of eating and drinking. I have many eating escapades to recount. However, i thought I’d kick of the year with the perfect cold-weather recipe, Lasagna. I cooked this up last night and have frozen the leftovers ready to dig out one evening when we feel like an easy dinner.

This lasagna recipe was just something i found on allrecipes.com and adapted to suit my tastes and what was available in my cupboard. I hope you enjoy it as much as i did!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage (or Sweet Italian sausage – whatever is available)
  • 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 whole tomatoes
  • 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 maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic reduction (available from specialty Italian stores)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, whole tomatoes, 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. I added the maple syrup, soy sauce and balsamic reduction about 45 mins into the simmer, to bring out the flavor. I recommend testing the mince as you go to make sure it suits your tastes. Keep in mind, as the meat continues to cook and the mix reduces, the flavors will intensify.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

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

4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 8×8 inch baking dish. Arrange 2 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 (you should have 4 pasta layers in total).

Mince on top of a layer of mozzarella, ricotta, pasta and more mince.

5. Cover the dish with foil and, to prevent sticking, make sure the foil doesn’t touch the cheese. If it does, spray foil with cooking spray, or rub some butter on it.

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

Straight out of the oven and almost ready to serve

Mmm, the crispy top layer of home-cooked lasagna

So, tell me Dear Reader, what’s your favorite cold-weather dish?

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Comments
4 Responses to “The Best Ever Italian Lasagna”
  1. Stu says:

    Looks pretty good Bec. Never can go wrong with a Curry when its cold!

  2. Ching says:

    Nothing like some sweet Italian sausage in a Dutch oven!
    Great recipe Becos.
    My favorite cold weather dish is my Popsy’s Barramundi and Fungus soup.

  3. Jen says:

    Becos! I made your lasagna last night, it was awesome!! x

  4. Mike says:

    OMG that looks amazing! found this through culture espresso’s facebook.

    You’re also hot.

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