Lasagna

Lasagna 2 (500x333) If you type in “lasagna” into the Google search box, you will get “About 15,200,000 results” within a few seconds. Now that’s A LOT of lasagna recipes.

Since our recent trip to Italy, I have been recreating a few very well-known Italian classics, and Lasagna is most certainly one of them. Most cooks have their way of making this homey and comforting dinner. To be honest, I’ve never measured anything for my Lasagna, just stirred in this and that until it looked right, but since I’ve been asked several times for my Lasagna recipe, I figured that this was the perfect time to start measuring.

Although I vary how I prepare the lasagna from time to time, overall, this is the the general idea of how I make it, layer by layer. Lasagna is time consuming to make, but once you prep all the components, assembling it is very simple. The best part is that Lasagna freezes really well, so make an extra lasagna while you’re at it. It’s a great gift to give to a friend, maybe you know a family who’s going through a hard time, or someone who just had a baby, or just anyone in general who likes to eat.

Ingredients:

1 package (15 noodles) lasagna noodles

Tomato Meat Sauce:

1/2 Tablespoon olive oil

3/4 – 1 lb ground meat, 1/2 pork, 1/2 beef

1 large onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (or diced tomatoes, pureed in a food processor)

salt, pepper

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

Cheese Filling:

15 oz ricotta cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4-1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

1 egg

salt, pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional

1 Tablespoon fresh parsley minced

Cheese Sauce:

1 shallot, minced, or 1 small onion, minced

3 Tablespoons butter

2-3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup milk

1-2 dry bay leaves

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

salt, pepper

I like to use no boil lasagna noodles. You can use regular lasagna noodles, just cook them according to the package instructions. I like the taste and texture of the no boil noodles, but the biggest advantage is that you omit one very annoying step – boiling the noodles, fishing them out, cooling them, etc.

Even though the package says that you can just use the noodles straight from the package, I like to soak them in hot water. I’ve tried it both ways and soaking them in hot water softens them up a bit and they cook up better.

Pour in hot water (not boiling) into the same baking dish you will be using for the lasagna and submerge the noodles in the water. IMG_5291 (500x334) (2)

IMG_5293 (500x334)

Tomato Meat Sauce:

Heat about 1/2 a Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add the ground meat. IMG_5288 (500x334) I prefer to use a little bit less meat and more tomatoes, but it’s up to you. My husband likes a good amount of meat in the lasagna:). Season the meat with salt and pepper. Cook until the meat has lost most of its pinkness, and you have nice brown bits throughout. If your meat  exudes a lot of grease, drain most of it off, leaving just enough to cook the onions. IMG_5295 (500x334) Add the onion and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the onion has softened. IMG_5299 (500x331)

IMG_5301 (500x334) Break the meat chunks apart, which will help the sauce to have an even consistency. A great trick for doing this is to use a potato masher. IMG_5304 (500x334) Add the crushed tomatoes and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook at a simmer, covered, for about 5 more minutes. IMG_5307 (500x334) Add the heavy cream and fresh herbs. IMG_5312 (500x334)

IMG_5315 (500x334) I add a touch of cream to almost all my tomato sauces. It gives the sauce a nice velvetiness. The fresh herbs are a must. I absolutely love the way they elevate the sauce and give it so much freshness and flavor.

Cheese Filling:

While the sauce is cooking, stir together all the ingredients for the cheese filling. IMG_5310 (500x334)

To Assemble:

Drain the noodles on a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel.

Scoop out about 3/4 cup of the Tomato Meat sauce and spread it out on the bottom of the baking dish. IMG_5316 (500x334) Top with the lasagna noodles. Spread out about 2 heaping Tablespoons of the Cheese Filling on top of each noodle. IMG_5319 (500x334)

IMG_5323 (500x334) Spread out another 3/4 cup of Tomato Meat Sauce over the Cheese Filling. IMG_5324 (500x334) You can top it with more grated Mozzarella, or you can omit it. I don’t usually add more cheese, I think it has plenty of cheese already, sometimes I add it to the second to last layer. IMG_5327 (500x334) Repeat with 3 more layers, ending with a layer of noodles. You will have 5 layers of noodles total. (If you’re using the same pasta as I am, you will use the whole box.) IMG_5341 (500x334)

Cheese Sauce:

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the shallot or onion. Season with salt and cook until tender on medium heat.

(If you’re using an onion instead of a shallot, you aside a small portion of onion when you’re chopping it for the Tomato Meat Sauce and use it here, since you only need a small amount.)

Add the flour and mix until it’s completely incorporated into the butter, and cook for about a minute. IMG_5331 (500x334) Whisk in the milk and chicken broth. You can use just milk in the sauce, but adding part chicken broth will give it more depth of flavor. IMG_5335 (500x334) Add the dry bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cook at a simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. IMG_5337 (500x334) Fish out the bay leaf. Take off the heat and stir in the grated cheeses. IMG_5338 (500x334)

IMG_5343 (500x334) Pour the cheese sauce over the last Lasagna layer and smooth it out. IMG_5344 (500x334)

To Cook:

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

Bake in a preheated 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about 40 minutes, until it bubbles around the edges.

Take off the aluminum foil and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is golden, if you’d like.  IMG_5391 (500x334)

Lasagna (500x334)

To freeze the Lasagna:

Cool the Lasagna to room temperature. Wrap it in several layers of aluminum foil and plastic wrap and freeze.

To cook: Thaw the lasagna overnight and bake, just as you would if you made it that same day. Pretty neat, huh?

Lasagna
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 package (15 noodles) lasagna noodles
Tomato Meat Sauce:
  • ½ Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ – 1 lb ground meat, ½ pork, ½ beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (or diced tomatoes, pureed in a food processor)
  • salt, pepper
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
Cheese Filling:
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼-1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley minced
Cheese Sauce:
  • 1 shallot, minced, or 1 small onion, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2-3 Tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1-2 dry bay leaves
  • ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. I like to use no boil lasagna noodles. You can use regular lasagna noodles, just cook them according to the package instructions. I like the taste and texture of the no boil noodles, but the biggest advantage is that you omit one very annoying step – boiling the noodles, fishing them out, cooling them, etc.
  2. Even though the package says that you can just use the noodles straight from the package, I like to soak them in hot water. I’ve tried it both ways and soaking them in hot water softens them up a bit and they cook up better. Pour in hot water (not boiling) into the same baking dish you will be using for the lasagna and submerge the lasagna noodles in the water.
  3. Heat about ½ a Tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Add the ground meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until the meat has lost most of its pinkness, and you have nice brown bits throughout. If your meat exudes a lot of grease, drain most of it off, leaving just enough to cook the onions.
  5. Add the onion and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the onion has softened.
  6. Break the meat chunks apart, which will help the sauce to have an even consistency. A great trick for doing this is to use a potato masher.
  7. Add the crushed tomatoes and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook, covered, at a simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  8. Add the heavy cream and fresh herbs. I add a touch of cream to almost all my tomato sauces. It gives it a nice velvetiness. The fresh herbs are a must. I absolutely love the way they elevate the sauce it give it so much freshness and flavor.
  9. While the sauce is cooking, stir together all the ingredients for the cheese filling.
  10. Drain the noodles on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel.
  11. Scoop out about ¾ cup of the Tomato Meat sauce and spread it out on the bottom of the baking dish.
  12. Top with the lasagna noodles.
  13. Spread out about 2 heaping Tablespoons of the cheese filling on top of each noodle. You can top it with more grated Mozzarella, or you can omit it. I don’t usually add more cheese, I think it has plenty of cheese already.
  14. Top with another ¾ cup of Tomato Meat Sauce and repeat with 3 more layers, ending with a layer of noodles. You will have 5 layers of noodles total. (If you’re using the same pasta as I am, you will use the whole box.)
  15. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add the shallot or onion. Season with salt and cook until tender. (If you’re using an onion instead of a shallot, you aside a small portion of onion when you’re chopping it for the Tomato Meat Sauce and use it here, since you only need a small amount.)
  16. Add the flour and mix until it’s completely incorporated into the butter, and cook for about a minute.
  17. Whisk in the milk and chicken broth. You can use just milk in the sauce, but adding part chicken broth will give it more depth of flavor.
  18. Add the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cook at a simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Fish out the bay leaf.
  19. Take the cheese sauce off the heat and stir in the grated cheeses.
  20. Pour the cheese sauce over the last Lasagna layer and smooth it out.
  21. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for about 40 minutes, until it bubbles around the edges.
  22. Take off the aluminum foil and broil for a few minutes until the cheese is golden, if you’d like.
  23. Cool the Lasagna to room temperature. Wrap it in several layers or aluminum foil and plastic wrap and freeze.
  24. To cook: Thaw the lasagna overnight and bake, just as you would if you made it that same day. Pretty neat, huh?

 

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Comments

  1. says

    What a perfect meal. Lasagna ingredients are so versatile and you can change them with what you have on hand. Thanks for stopping by EEs.

  2. Oksana says

    I make my lasagna almost identical to yours; however, I have never made a cheese sauce. I will definitely give it a try next time I make lasagna! :)

  3. Alena says

    I really like these ingredience and will definately give it a try:) thank you for sharing:) ur awesome:)

  4. Marina says

    Looks great! I was just wondering if I can omit the egg or substitute it with something else? My son is allergic to eggs and I don’t use them when I cook. Thank you.

  5. Tatiana says

    Olga, I had tried few of your recipes and absolutely loved them all! You are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing these. Made this lasagna today, and my hubby loved it. Thank you !

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