Ruth Ann Vokac
I never tasted pizza until I went to college, and we never had lasagne. Yet, not long after I married, Mom sent me this lasagne recipe, which has become a staple in my household. It became a Christmas tradition and a request for lots of special occasions.
We might debate whether to use ricotta or cottage cheese, but we all agree it is delicious--either way.
2 tspolive oil, divided
1onion, diced into small pieces
1/2green pepper, diced into small pieces
1/4 croasted red pepper, diced (optional, but a delicious addition)
3 clovegarlic, divided and grated on a microplane grater
1 lbground round beef
1 lbroll, italian sausage (bob evans or jimmy dean)
4 tspdried parsley, divided
1/2 tspseasoned salt
3 pthigh quality spaghetti/marinara sauce (or homemade) (i like to choose one jar that has cheese, one with mushrooms, and one with peppers.)
1-2 lbricotta cheese (or dry cottage cheese)
1/2 - 1 cparmesan cheese
6-8 cmozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced
How to Make Mom's Lasagne
- In a very large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat, warm 1 teaspoon olive oil and add onions and green peppers. Sauté for a couple of minutes and then add 2 cloves grated garlic. Continue cooking for 2 minutes. Remove vegetables to a small dish and set aside.
- In the same skillet or Dutch Oven, add ground round beef, Italian sausage,seasoned salt, and 2 teaspoons dried parsley. Over medium heat, brown the meat, breaking it up meat as it browns. When all the meat is brown, pour contents into a colander sitting over a dish to catch the fat. Discard fat.
- Pour drained meat back into the cooking pan. Add set aside vegetables, roasted red peppers, and 2 pints spaghetti/marinara sauce. Stir. Set aside.
- Fill a tall pasta pan about 2/3 cups full of water and season with 2-3 teaspoons salt. Bring to boiling. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add lasagne noodles, turn heat to medium low, and cook partially covered for 6 minutes. (Noodles will soften but won't be completely cooked.) Drain water, and leaving noodles in pot, cover with cold water. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add ricotta cheese, eggs, 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes, 1 clove garlic, grated, and Parmesan cheese. Mix all the ingredients together and set aside.
- If you plan to bake the lasagne immediately after assembly, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using cooking spray, spray (2) 9" x 12" baking dishes. (Or use any shape pans you want--just fill one pan after another until ingredients are gone.)
- In each prepared pan, put about 1 cup spaghetti/marinara sauce. Using a table knife or spatula, spread over bottom of baking dish.
Begin layering ingredients:
— Layer of cooked, drained lasagne noodles, cut to fit
— Layer of meat sauce
— Layer of ricotta cheese mixture, spread with a knife
— Layer of mozzarella cheese.
Try to gauge the use of ingredients so you have enough for at least two layers of pasta, meat sauce, and ricotta in each dish.
Or if you are using a deeper lasagne dish, gauge accordingly.
- Continue with layers until pans are full or all ingredients are used.
*** End each dish with a layer of meat sauce and mozzarella. ***
Don't fill the pans too full; you don't want ingredients to bake over in the oven.
(I usually end up with a small dish of "garbage" lasagne--any leftover ingredients. But still good for a small meal!)
- I like to do all the steps above the day before serving, so I can have all the assembly mess cleaned up before company day. So at this stage, I cover each dish with plastic wrap and foil and refrigerate.
The lasagne can be frozen--just thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking. Allow a few extra minutes for baking.
- When you are ready to bake:
If pans are full, set them on a cookie sheet to catch drips.
Put the pans, uncovered, in an oven heated to 350 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes or until all the lasagna is bubbly and starting to brown.
- Remove from oven to a wire rack, cover loosely with foil, and let set 10-15 minutes so lasagna will cut well.
- Cut each dish into 12 pieces and serve with hot, crusty bread and a salad or green vegetable.
- Prep day is messy and takes some time, but if you prepare the day ahead, serving day is simple and almost mess free.