If I had a dollar for every time my fiancé requested “I Don’t Know” or “Whatever” for dinner, I could buy a yacht. Like a really big yacht. Like the kind that only Arab Sheikhs have. After much head-scratching, I’ve finally developed a recipe for both requests: Lasagna.
The best thing about lasagna is that it’s fool-proof. There is no whipping egg whites to the perfect height and then gently folding them in. Nope. It’s layering plain and simple. But, as in all Italian cooking, it’s all about the sauce. I use my sauce recipe that I shared earlier this week and it blew my fiancé away. I was supposed to freeze half the pan for him to eat while I am here in St. Louis wedding planning, but the lasagna didn’t last that long. It was just too good.
I’ve been developing my version of lasagna since college, when I was forced to actually make it for myself. I don’t know if my final (for now) version is traditional because I am 0% Italian, but I do know that it is sure to please anyone at the table!
1 ½ pounds ground meat (I use ½ lb sirloin, ½ lb pork, ½ lb sweet Italian sausage)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese
12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
Optional: Chop ½ red pepper, ½ yellow pepper, ½ onion, and shredded carrots.
Pre-heat oven to 350°.
Brown meat, drain and add to sauce. Cook noodles until al dente. If you are using fresh noodles then lightly spray the bottom of your dish with olive oil. They will stick. I know this for a fact.
Sauté vegetables. These are optional because they make the sauce a little bit more watery, which is why they are not in the version in my photos. I usually add these veggies and whatever else I have on hand because they make the cheese-filled dish feel healthier!
Mix basil & oregano with ricotta.
Assemble your lasagna in the following order in a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish:
Ricotta (spread this with the back of a spoon while keeping a finger on the noodles, so they don’t move around.)
Sauce with meat
Repeat this process until your lasagna reaches your desired height. Add a little extra cheese to the top layer. With flat noodles you can get ~6 layers in this dish but only ~3 with the ruffled kind.
Bake at 350° for ~ 45 or until the top browns and the sauce is bubbly. I suggest you let it cool at least 20 minutes before you cut it.
It’s fair point out, I have tried this lasagna with whole-wheat noodles and it was good but they definitely change the texture. I have also made it healthier by halving the cheese, but I would just rather eat less and have all the cheesy goodness!