The first time I made Lasagna, it was right after I’d gotten married. My husband and I were having one of my old college friends over for dinner and she had said in passing that Lasagna was her favorite dish. She arrived “mid-sauce” and was quite perplexed. Apparently, she had never had Lasagna where the sauce was made from scratch (do people really just use spaghetti sauce?). I however didn’t know any other way to make it. Over the years I’ve added and tweaked until I put together what I think is the Best Ever Lasagna! My husband definitely agrees – he was eating leftover for breakfast yesterday and the kids never pass it up! It’s a full-flavored dish that’s definitely a bit of a labor of love – but worth every minute!
My humble opinion: Anytime I’m making a dish that calls for a longer period of simmering, I like using my Dutch Oven. I find that it really helps all the flavors meld together better and keeps moisture in the dish.
- 1 lb Sweet Italian Sauce
- 1 lb Lean (90/10) ground beef
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 TBLS brown sugar
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 t. dried basil
- 1 t. Italian seasoning
- 1 TBLS salt
- 1/4 t. black pepper
- 2 TBLS dried parsley
- 12 Lasagna Noodles
- 16 oz Ricotta Cheese
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1/2 t. salt
- 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella cheese sliced
- 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese shredded
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
Directions (Using a Dutch Oven):
Making The Sauce:
- Over medium heat, brown the ground beef, the sweet Italian sausage (removed from casing) with the onion and garlic. Drain grease and return meat mixture to the pot.
2. Add tomato sauce, paste, crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, 1 TBLS salt, pepper, and 1 TBLS Parsley to mixture. Bring to low boil. Turn pot to low, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours; stirring occasionally.
Making The Ricotta Filling:
- Mix together with a fork, the Ricotta cheese, sour cream, egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 TBLS parsley.
Finishing The Lasagna:
- (Preheat oven to 375 degrees) Boil the Lasagna noodles for 9 minutes. Drain and run cold water over them.
- After the sauce has finishing simmering it’s time to put the Lasagna together. In a 9 x 13 baking dish start by spreading 2 cups of sauce on the bottom. Place 6 lasagna noodles on top. Spread 1/2 of ricotta mixture over noodles. Place 1/2 of the sliced Mozzarella on top of ricotta mixture. Spread another 2 cups sauce on top and top with 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat, ending the the sauce and Parmesan cheese. Top with Shredded Mozzarella.
3. Cover with foil (sprayed with non-stick spray to keep the cheese from sticking) and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20. Take out of the oven, cover again with foil (sprayed with more non-stick spray) for 10 minutes before serving.