Lasagna Alforno Recipe

History of Lasagna

Did you know the Greeks had a word, "lasagnum"? It was a word they used for a certain dish or bowl. The Romans used this word to describe a 'dish' they made that had layers. As the Roman Empire spread so did "lasagnum". Eventually Italians changed the word from "lasagnum" to "lasagna" and used it for a multi-layered dish they made. Further research tells us that lasagna was one of the first recipes included in a cookbook made in, of all places, England. The lasagna recipe used most today is said to have come from North Central Italy.

Now you're wondering, not being Italian how did I come across this delectable dish? I grew up in a German household in a German neighborhood. I never even heard of lasagna until I was 16! I was at my (then) boyfriend's house and his mother made lasagna for dinner. It was love at first bite! I had to learn how to make this wonderful dish (which I did) and cook it for my family (which I also did). It was the very first thing I ever cooked and needless to say, I'm cooking it still!

This is my recipe...maybe a little stilted, maybe not, but this is how I make it.

“Once again, my life has been saved by the miracle of lasagna.”

— Garfield
Who love lasagna?  GARFIELD!
Who love lasagna? GARFIELD! | Source

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs lasagna noodles
  • 2 lbs ground beef, high quality; ground sirloin or 95% fat free
  • 52 ozs tomato sauce, I like to use two different kinds for extra flavor
  • 1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese, fresh mozzarella is best but packaged will do
  • 40 ozs ricotta cheese, fresh is nice but store but works fine
  • 1 cup chopped onion, optional
  • 1 lb sausage, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • sprinkling Italian seasoning

From Lasagna Noodle box

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 oz
Calories 210
Calories from Fat18
% Daily Value *
Fat 2 g3%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 42 g14%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 7 g14%
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Cook Time

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 35 min
Ready in: 1 hour 20 min
Yields: Serves 10 to 12 (depending on appetites)

Instructions

  1. Cook lasagna noodles in large pot; add to boiling salted water until noodles are soft; rinse immediately with cold water after removing from pot
  2. While noodles are cooking brown and chop meat (you want small pieces); if you are going to use the onion and/or sausage add to meat while meat is browning; when browned drain any fat
  3. Add sauce to browned meat reserving a small amount of sauce; now you have a meaty tomato sauce with a small reserve
  4. Add eggs and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning to ricotta cheese, mix and set aside
  5. When noodles have cooled and meat is brown add some plain tomato sauce to the bottom of a lasagna pan (a pan at least 13x9) and add first layer of plain noodles
  6. Cover noodles with some meat sauce from one end of the pan to the other; sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of meat sauce
  7. Add next layer of noodles; cover noodles with ricotta mixture and sprinkle with mozzarella sauce (again from one end of the pan to the other...you want to make sure you are completely covering your layer of noodles)
  8. Continue until pan is full. If your pan isn't deep enough you can use another pan....if your pan is large you can add lasagna noodles in a "T" formation (mine is 14x12x2 and I do that)
  9. Sprinkle top layer with remainder of mozzarella cheese and cover pan with tin foil (you can also add any left over ricotta and/or noodles to top layer - see photos)
  10. Bake in pre-warmed 375 degree oven for approximately 35 to 45 minutes. Check to see if lasagna is bubbly (showing its nice and hot); if you want the top slightly browned uncover and cook and additional 10 minutes, checking at 5 minutes to be sure its the way you want it
  11. Let cool about 5 minutes and enjoy!
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Quality chop meatShredding fresh mozzarellaMixing ricotta with spicesAdding a few noodles at a time to potNoodles in potRinsing noodlesFirst layer of noodles in panFirst layer of mozzarella on meat sauceLayer of ricotta  with mozzarella layered on topOptional: dollops of ricotta on top layer of meat sauceRicotta spread out on top of meat saucePatchwork of noodles on top of ricotta
Quality chop meat
Quality chop meat | Source
Shredding fresh mozzarella
Shredding fresh mozzarella | Source
Mixing ricotta with spices
Mixing ricotta with spices | Source
Adding a few noodles at a time to pot
Adding a few noodles at a time to pot | Source
Noodles in pot
Noodles in pot | Source
Rinsing noodles
Rinsing noodles | Source
First layer of noodles in pan
First layer of noodles in pan | Source
First layer of mozzarella on meat sauce
First layer of mozzarella on meat sauce | Source
Layer of ricotta  with mozzarella layered on top
Layer of ricotta with mozzarella layered on top | Source
Optional: dollops of ricotta on top layer of meat sauce
Optional: dollops of ricotta on top layer of meat sauce | Source
Ricotta spread out on top of meat sauce
Ricotta spread out on top of meat sauce | Source
Patchwork of noodles on top of ricotta
Patchwork of noodles on top of ricotta | Source

Remember, if the sauce doesn't cover the noodles, the lasagna dries out!

Lasagna Recipes and Hints

There are a multitude of lasagna recipes and many can be found right here on Hub Pages. Lasagna is a popular dish and there are many variations but the basic ingredients are usually the same. The cooks who spend more time in the kitchen and like to do a lot of their own cooking will make their own sauce for this dish. There are also some good Italian cooks with their own noodle makers who will make their own noodles! My son-in-law's grandmother does this and the noodles are amazing.

Restaurant lasagna can give home cooked a run for its money. I have to admit the very best restaurant lasagna I ever had was in a little restaurant in Greenwich Village, many years ago. Surprisingly the second best I ever had was in a restaurant in Ireland. So it is obvious to conclude lasagna is a favorite worldwide. Never pass up this dish!

Of course there are many variations in the ingredients you can use. For example, you can use ground turkey instead of ground beef. Many people enjoy vegetable lasagna and use mixed greens including spinach and kale or whatever combination suits your palate.

There are noodles that don't need cooking, the "no boil" noodles. They certainly save time and can be easier to handle but require just a bit more sauce.

Be sure to cover your lasagna when baking so its doesn't get too brown or dry. You can uncover for the last ten to fifteen minutes to get that browning and to make sure all the cheese on top is melted.

Did you know you can build your lasagna ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook it? I would certainly limit that to one or two days, one being the best so your noodles don't get soggy.

Did you know you can cook lasagna in a slow cooker? Prepare the same way, layer in the slow cooker, cook for approximate three to three and a half hours. Now there's two things here, first, you don't have to cook the noodles and second you have to make sure they're cooked before you serve your lasagna. You can insert a knife to see if the noodles are done. I keep saying I'm going to try this but haven't yet. If you do, let me know how it comes out.

If you want a "meaty" flavor without the meat, use mushrooms.

One way to cut calories a bit is to substitute cottage cheese for ricotta.

Purists and those who like home cooked only will agree its the best way to have lasagna. My husband insists mine is the best. Give it a try to I'll bet you'll find yours can be the best too.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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Comments 44 comments

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I love lasagna! I've enjoyed it since I was a kid but I really fell in love with it when I had homemade lasagna and since then that's what I enjoy eating. I'm definitely going to pin this recipe!


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

My husband's favorite dish and I should make it. It sound wonderful and I will had another pound of mozzarella cheese. I like using the best ground beef. Voted UP.


azahorik profile image

azahorik 4 years ago from Philadelphia, PA/Venice, Italy

Well put together and thorough hub. :) You could also try mixing the meat with a bechamel and layering mozzarella with that. (That's actually where the ricotta comes in - it's meant to add creaminess without putting you through the nuisance of making a bechamel!)


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Lasagna is one of my favorite things! This sounds like a great recipe.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Any recipe with meat in it is a good recipe, and I love lasagna. Great job Mary; thanks for making a recipe that I could eat and love. :)


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

A well explained hub. I had only heard about 'Lasagna', till I visited Italy this May. I actually loved it, when I tasted it there. Now that you have given the recipe, I am definitely going to try it. Thanks for sharing.


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi Mary,

Lasagna is one of my favourite dishes to do and I also put veg in it. Your recipe sounds and looks delicious!!! I usually use the sheets of lasagne but your noodles look great so will get them now. I have never used ricotta and eggs either so I am definitely giving this a go as it really sounds so tasty!! Should keep us going awhile but we do have big appetites!! voted up, everything and shared - great hub Mary!!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

I'm glad you like it Alecia and do appreciate you pinning it!

Carol, can't have enough mozzarella in this house either.

azahorik thanks for the tip about the bechamel.

xstatic, try it, you might like it ;)

Bill I'm sure you would, definitely meaty ;)

ChitrangadaSharan sounds like you met lasagna in a similar way to me. Hope you enjoy.

Suzie, I have to say one of the best lasagna dishes I ever had in a restaurant was in Ireland...don't ask me which town because we were touring with a friend and he had us everywhere...I just remember it was great! (this recipe is for a LARGE pan of lasagna)


Ryem profile image

Ryem 4 years ago from Maryland

Lasagna is one of my favorite foods, however I've never attempted to make it. This recipe makes it look really easy. I just might give it a shot!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

It is easy Ryem, just takes a little time. Hope it works out well for you!


europewalker profile image

europewalker 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I love lasagna and will be trying your recipe this weekend:)


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

looks relish!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Hope you enjoy europewalker!

Thanks Jools.


Fiddleman profile image

Fiddleman 4 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

Years ago I was home recovering from a shoulder surgery and my wife was working at a jewelry in town. I got brave and made some lasagna . I followed one of the recipes on a box and walla, turned out to be pretty good. I threw in a cheesecake also following the directions on the box. Our boys who were quite young then loved it. We have this occasionally still. Great hub and recipe.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Way to go Fiddleman...AND homemade cheesecake? You're my idol!


tnderhrt23 4 years ago

Looks and sounds simply scrumptious! Will definitely give this recipe a go!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for checking this out tnderhrt23.


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

And Mary, what time is din-din?

My wife tries, but has a hard time making lasagna. My mother did well, but the best I ever had actually came from a Puerto Rican woman in Orlando that stacked it up so high a thin slice was all you could eat. What am I doing in Kentucky? Oh well, I reiterate, "What time is din-din?" Great Hub!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

I'll let you know the next time lasagna is for din-din...you may have to travel a bit to get here but you're always welcome RC!


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Yummy! I know what's for dinner tonight!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Enjoy Glimmer Twin!


TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

Can I come over for dinner? :) I'll bring dessert! Voted yummy and shared!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Okay, we have RC and you so far...I have 19 chairs in my dining room ;)


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

6:43 a.m. and you got me hungry Mary! This recipe is close to the one my ex wife used to do. Th only difference was the meat. a different kind of meat per layer. Love chopped onions and that stirring and tasting. Bookmarking and sharing!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Appreciate the share and as always your comment. There is something about lasagna...I have one family member not too fond of onions so I leave them out. When my kids were young I used to make two separate dishes of lasagna, one with meat and one without...its always good no matter how you make it.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

This is very close to the recipe my mother has made for years. So I gave it 5 stars, assuming that it will be just as delicious! Thanks for sharing.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Hope it will be just as delicious...I know my family loves it. Thanks for stopping by Deborah.


Edgar Alan Cole profile image

Edgar Alan Cole 4 years ago

Wow! This article really made me hungry. That is a good thing in my book. Great job!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Now all you need to do is make lasagna ;) Thanks for stopping by and for the compliment.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 4 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Interesting bit of cusine history. I like all the photos - this would be an easy recipe to follow. I've never tried putting sausage in lasagne, and this is worth trying.

I have added this to my Recipe Index for HubPages - and am sharing the hub.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

I'm sure you'll enjoy 2patricias. Actually many restaurants in the US put sausage in their lasagna. I prefer just chopped meat and have to say one of the best lasagna I ever had was in Ireland of all places!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

It's unexpected, the origins of this variation, but it looks just as good and worth trying. Voting this Up and Useful.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York Author

Hope you enjoy Alocsin!


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

Yummy! I love lasagna and of course mozarella, too. Thanks for the recipe. I´ll try this next time. Voted up and shared.


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 3 years ago

They look so good. Thanks for sharing the information about the origin of the word lasagna.

:-)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thelma, I'll be you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by and voting and sharing.

Ignugent glad you enjoyed!


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Now, I'm not the greatest cook around, so tell me this. It sounds logical but, if I want to make half the recipe, I just halve all the ingredients, right? Does that include the water when I boil the noodles? (I voted again)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Yes, halve everything BUT the water. It won't hurt to have a little extra water for the noodles to move around and cook through. Good luck and thanks for the vote.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

Your lasagna look delicious. Great photos. Voted up, five stars and pinned to my recipe board.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Moonlake, hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Love this version of the Lasagne dish. It sounds delicious and makes me hungry just looking at the pictures. I never thought to turn the noodles the other way when layering. That would seem to hold the casserole together really well. Nicely illustrated and well explained. Pinning and sharing.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 21 months ago from New York Author

Birds of a feather Peg. Garfield would be so proud of us! Changing the noodles around does hold things together but can make it a bit more difficult to slice. If they're all facing the same way you can use the natural "opening" to start your cut. Thanks for shares.


molometer profile image

molometer 14 months ago

Trust the English to be the first to include it in a cookbook. This looks like a great twist on a classic. I'll give it try. Nice post Mary.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 14 months ago from New York Author

I'm sure you'll enjoy it Mike! Thanks for checking out this recipe.

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