Wednesday, 17 August 2011

My Mom Makes the Best Lasagna!

Hi friends!  Hope your week is going well.  I'm just getting back into the swing of things after a weekend away camping, and wanted to pop in to share a fabulous recipe with you.  I'll tell you all about my camping trip soon :)

This is a recipe for the most amazing, delicious, cheesy, gooey, meaty, saucy, most savoury lasagna you'll ever try.  I've made it several times, and it never fails to impress.  Sure, it won't score too high on the health-o-meter, but hey, you have to indulge every now and then.  Lasagna is one of my favourite comfort foods, and just thinking of my mom's delicious lasagna is enough to make me drool.

I found this recipe on All Recipes, and after making it once or twice, I learned that my mom has been using this recipe for years, so it's kinda like my lasagna recipe has been passed down to me from mom.  And aren't mom's recipes always the best?  <3  Give it a shot.  Best enjoyed in the company of friends and family!

THE BEST LASAGNA

 

Ingredients:


1 pound sweet Italian sausage (slice the meat out of the casings)
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion*
2 cloves garlic, crushed*
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes**
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar (though I use more like 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon of salt (I use more like 1/2 teaspoon or less - there is plenty of salt in the meat)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt (I omit this - there is plenty of salt in the cheese)
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated (I use an entire big brick!)
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese


* I always end up using more!
** Don't forget to look for BPA free - Eden Organics makes crushed tomatoes in a jar!


Instructions:

1.   In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned.  Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water.  Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley.  Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2.   You can use no-boil lasagna noodles, like I do.  OR: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water.  In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or omit this salt like I do).

3.   Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4.   To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce.  Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture.  Top with a third of mozzarella cheese.  Spoon 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese (good luck with that!  LOL).

5.   Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes.  Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

MY NOTES:

I have provided you with the recipe as I found it on All Recipes, but I'm serious when I suggest to you that you really cut down or omit the salt.  All the reviews of this recipe said that the dish came out too salty, and it's completely understandable, given the salt already present in the meat and cheese.  Even with the reduced salt I use, the dish can still be on the salty side.  Next time, I'll probably try cutting it out altogether.

This lasagna can be made gluten free by using gluten free rice lasagna noodles.  As for dairy, I hate to say it, but I just don't think this lasagna would be the same without three kinds of melty, gooey cheese ;)  (But you can give it a shot if you want....Daiya (http://www.daiyafoods.com/) is my favourite dairy and soy free cheese).


THE BEST BOLOGNESE SAUCE



Include all ingredients above, up to and including the first 2 tablespoons of parsley, and follow all directions, up to the part where you start boiling noodles and assembling and cooking lasagna.  It makes the best sauce ever, and I portion it out and freeze it - 1 1/2 cups of sauce will feed Jeremy and I on a weeknight when there's not much time to cook!










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