Meat Lasagna

Meat Lasagna

This recipe is a hybrid of Sharon's recipe and and a very intense online recipe. My guess is that both are derived from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Serves 6. Bakes in a 9x9 pan.

Meat sauce:

Cook and stir together until meat is brown and onion is tender:

  • 3 Italian sausages (approx 0.5 lbs, mixed between mild and spicy; can substitute ground beef for all or part)
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup red wine (optional)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Drain all fat. Then add:

  • Two 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp parsley flakes (more if you use fresh Italian parsley)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped basil (about 1/2 cup leaves)
  • 1 tsp "Italian seasoning" (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered about 1.5 hrs or until mixture is the consistency of spaghetti sauce.

Meanwhile, prepare the cheeses, or sub in a béchamel sauce:

Ricotta option

  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp parsley flakes (fresh is better)
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Béchamel alternative:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, warmed
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Kosher salt

Cheese for assembly:

3/4 lb mozzerella cheese
1/2 c parmesan (or a substitute like romano)

Assemble the lasagna:

Pour very hot tap water into the largest bowl/pan you have and add as many lasagna noodles as you will need to make 2 or 3 layers (your choice!). Allow noodles to soften (~15-20 mins). Because we're making the lasagna in a 9x9 pan (instead of a 13x9), we have to then trim the noodles down. We use these scraps to make the middle layer of noodles, which doesn't contribute much to the structural integrity of the whole thing.

In ungreased pan (9x9 inches) put a smearing of the sauce.

Layer the lasagna in the following order:

  • Noodles
  • Ricotta mixture
  • Meat sauce
  • Mozarella
  • Parmesan

Repeat for 3 layers of noodles total, ending with a small amount of meat sauce and cheese on the top.

Cover with foil. Bake at 350 deg for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for 25 mins more. Remove from oven an let stand for at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Alternatively, pan can be covered with foil and refridgerated or frozen. Allow to thaw and come to room temperature before baking.

See also:

http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/l...
http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/lasagna-bolognese

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