I recently found myself eating lasagna for dinner, and breakfast, and lunch the following the day. I thought I was going nuts because, well, I am in love with lasagna. To me, it just screams comfort food. An all-in-one dish that has layers of noodles, cheese, sauce, and meat? Come on, you know you are there with me. Now sure, I had plenty of other options when it came to breakfast, and lunch, but I kept going back to the lasagna. In the past I have never been a big fan of the leftover, especially if something has been sitting in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but a couple of years ago, that whole idea of a leftover changed.
My wife actually turned me on to this recipe when we first started dating, and it is one that I have tweaked a bit in terms of spices, but left the majority of the ingredients the same. Oh, I also add an extra layer of pasta. This lasagna uses a part-skim ricotta cheese, and when combined with all of the wonderful ingredients that make up a lasagna, this one is pretty hard to beat.
Let’s get started.
- 14 lasagna noodles, you really only need 12, but I use a couple extra in case one tears
- 32 oz tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- pinch of red chili flakes
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1 lb of ground chuck, cooked, crumbled, and drained
- 15 oz part skim Ricotta Cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dry oregano, crushed between your fingers
- 1 tbsp dry basil
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded Mozzarella and Provolone cheese
Start by making the sauce. To a large sauce pan, add in the tomato sauce, salt, garlic, pepper, and chili flakes.
Cook the ground chuck. Break it up as it cooks, into a nice fine crumble. Once cooked, drain any fat from the meat. Add the meat to the sauce, and give that a good stir. Cover and cook on low for one hour. Towards the end of the cooking process of the sauce, toss in the basil, and give a stir.
While the sauce cooks, cook the noodles as directed on the box, however cook just before al dente. Strain and set aside.
While the pasta cooks, make the ricotta filling. To a mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, the egg, parsley, oregano, dry basil, and half of the parmesan cheese. Give that a good stir.
Now the fun stuff, the layering. On the bottom of a lasagna pan, add a nice big ladle of the sauce. Lift and move the sauce on the bottom of the pan to make a nice, even and light coating.
Add your noodles to cover the bottom of the pan, slightly overlapping each sheet.
Spread a nice, light coating of the ricotta cheese.
Sprinkle some of the cheese on top.
Cover with more of the sauce.
Repeat with the lasagna sheets.
Add more ricotta, and add more shredded cheese.
Add more sauce.
Add more pasta sheets.
Add more ricotta cheese.
Add more sauce.
Top with the remaining shredded cheese to completely cover the top. Add some more grated parmesan cheese.
Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with a bit of cooking spray.
Preheat the oven for 350 degrees and cook, covered (cooking spray down on cheese side) for roughly 45-60 minutes. Once you are near done, remove the cover and either place under the broiler for a couple of minutes to get the top layer of cheese nice and bubbly, or continue to cook in the oven, uncovered at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
When the lasagna is finished cooking, remove it from the oven, and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Trust me, it will still be really hot, however the resting allows everything to come together instead of falling apart when you cut into it.
That’s the tough part. Once you are ready, cut a nice big square, and if you like it spicy, like me, sprinkle some red chili flakes on top.
I’m a corner piece kind of guy, so I always try to get that piece. The result is just amazing. You know what I am talking about. Layers of pasta surround by cheese, and meat, with an awesome sauce. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it.
So that’s my lasagna recipe. What’s your favorite type of lasagna?