Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wicked Good, Wicked Easy, Meat Lasagna

I am sure there are plenty of recipes for lasagna out there, but I concocted my own from a combination of recipes that were lying around and it came out really good! It was relatively quick because I used the "oven-ready" noodles that you just bake right out of the box. I did learn however that if you're going to use those noodles that all parts of the noodle must be covered with sauce, otherwise they don't get soft. I came up with a little trick where I actually put the lasagna in the broiler for 3 minutes at the end and the cheese on top got all bubbly and crisp!

Wicked Good, Wicked Easy, Meat Lasagna
Serves two people for 3 days or 3 people for 2 days

  • 8 oz of oven-ready lasagna sheets (the kind you don't have to boil first.

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 96% lean and it came out great)

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 28 oz of your favorite pasta sauce like Classico, Barilla, or Trader Joe's. Please don't use Ragu or Prego or anything with corn syrup, please!!

  • 15 oz can plain tomato sauce like Contadina, Pastene, or a store brand (again, no corn syrup)

  • 15 oz ricotta cheese

  • 1 large egg

  • 3 Tablespoons freshly cut herbs like basil, oregano and Italian parsley OR
    2 teaspoons dried herbs

  • Salt and pepper

  • dash nutmeg

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella (I use part-skim)

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese or if you don't have that, use pre-grated parmasan or romano cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Lightly brown the ground beef with the garlic in a skillet. Don't overcook, it should be rare since you're going to bake it for 45 minutes. Drain.

  3. In the mean time, mix well the ricotta, egg, herbs, a little salt and pepper, and a dash of nutmeg.

  4. Add your 28 oz pasta sauce to the beef and heat on low for a few minutes until just warm.

  5. Start layering your lasagna. Pour about 1/4 can of the plain tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan and spread it all out. This will be like your glue.

  6. Layer 3-4 sheets of the pasta, whatever fits.

  7. Spread on 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella.

  8. Spread on 1/3 of the meat sauce.

  9. Repeat steps 6-8 two more times.

  10. Now, take the last sheets of pasta you have and lay them on top.

  11. Pour the 3/4 can of plain sauce over the top, make sure every piece of pasta gets wet.

  12. Sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella and the 1/2 cup of parmigiano reggiano.

  13. Cover the whole thing with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the temp up to 375 and cook for another 15 minutes, the last 2-3 minutes of which, if you have a broiler, put it right under there. Don't turn the heat to the broil setting, 375 is hot enough. Keep a close eye on it so that it doesn't burn.

  14. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it.

  15. You're done! Serve with a salad!