Aaron’s Lasagna

Plan on taking several hours to make the sauce and pasta dish itself.  It takes a while, but the end result is a meal that can be saved in the freezer, or readily shared with others.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound hot italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2+ cloves garlic, crushed
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 18 oz canned tomato sauce
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • fresh basil to taste
  • 1+ tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • Lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese, skim
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
  • pinch nutmeg
  • Black olives, optional
  • Parsley sprigs, optional

Directions

  • Cook sausage and ground beef in fry pan until browned. Do not overcook. Okay if slightly underdone – it will finish cooking in the sauce and in the oven.
  • While meat is cooking, place all lasagna noodles into baking dish, and cover with warm to hot water. Allow noodles to soften until ready to assemble lasagna. Agitate the mixture every 30 minutes or so to ensure all noodles are submerged and are in contact with water.
  • In large sauce pot, cook garlic and onion with a touch of olive oil.
  • Mix all tomato products and meat mixture into sauce pot. Add sugar, basil, italian seasoning, pepper, and 2 Tbsp parsley. Adjust flavor with salt and sugar. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours or more, stirring occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Taste sauce and adjust flavor with additional italian seasoning, sugar, basil, etc.
  • Remove noodles from water, and place in bowl or on plate. Allow them to remain wet to prevent sticking.
  • In small bowl, combine egg, ricotta cheese, and 2 Tbsp parsley. Mix until combined.
  • In a 13×9 extra deep glass baking dish, spread 1.5 cups of sauce mixture. If necessary, add slightly more sauce to ensure entire bottom of pan is covered with red sauce. Arrange noodles over sauce. Cover with half of the ricotta mixture and spread as evenly as possible. Top with one third of the mozzarella slices. Spoon over 1.5 cups of the sauce mixture, and top with parmesan cheese. Repeat layer by adding noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, and sauce. Add the final noodle layer, sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses. Top with parsley and basil if desired.
  • Cover baking dish with cooking spray-treated tin foil to prevent sticking to cheese.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, then remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes or until cheese is toned to perfection. Allow lasagna to cool and thicken for approximately 15 minutes.
  • Slice carefully, and garnish with parsley sprig and black olives if desired. Enjoy.

You should know that sauce consistency is key! If you change something in the sauce, be sure it doesn’t become too thin. Also, your baking dish must be deep enough – with this much sauce, you will probably want an extra deep pan. If you can’t find one, just put tin foil or a baking sheet below the lasagna while in the oven to help with the boil-overs that will occur.

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