The World's Best Lasagna!
Before we start....
Lasagna was one of the first dishes I've ever made, dating back to being in the dorms during my college years. While I am not a world acclaimed chef or anything, this is one recipe that I've found time and time again, that has gotten excellent feedback from everyone I've ever made it for....and never fails to make me proud! Over the years I've just had fun with it, and tweaked the ingredients by combining ideas from several lasagna recipes and have found a way to make it my own tasty masterpiece! Yes, it might take a couple hours...but it's worth it. This is a recipe that is for the person who likes to play with food, and it's great if you are having a dinner party or potluck to contribute to. Every minute put into it is can be smelt and tasted, during and after it's completion. The combination of different cheeses makes it super creamy, as the cottage cheese makes a fantastic substitute for some of the ricotta. From my experience, I've heard people complain that ricotta cheese is too bitter, so this was a great way to take the edge off that taste while keeping a solid texture. Also, the red wine in the tomato sauce gives it an extra kick of flavor...not to mention, my favorite part is seeing the wine change the color of the sauce into a divine shade of red :) If you are really into spicy foods, add some extra pepper and cayenne red pepper for an extra bite. Overall, it may seem like a time consuming recipe but it's one that is always fun to make, and is surely a crowd pleaser!
Cook with Snoopy! Don't forget the apron!
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Pound Spicy Sausage
- 1 Pound Ground Beef
- 1 Large White Onion, Diced
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 2 (14oz) Cans Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 (6oz) Cans Tomato Paste
- 1 (15oz) Can Tomato Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Red Wine
- 2 Tablespoons White Sugar
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried Basil Leaves
- 1 Teaspoon Oregano/Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) Fresh Parsely, Chopped
- 12 Lasagna Noodles
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 Cup Milk
- 16oz Ricotta Cheese
- 8-10 Oz Cottage Cheese
- 2 Pounds Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 Cups Parmesan
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add sausage and ground beef over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and red wine. Add the sugar, basil, oregano (or Italian seasoning), black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours or more, stirring occasionally. The longer it can simmer to blend ingredients together, the better. Or, an alternative is to let it mellow in the fridge overnight and heat it up before the lasagna assembly.
- 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. Lay them out on wax paper until they are placed in pan so they don’t tear or stick together.
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix the egg with ¼ cup milk, ½ cup graded cheese (could use mozzarella or any other), some black pepper, ½ teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Add the ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, and remaining parsley. Mix until smooth.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Then spread with a good amount of the ricotta cheese mixture on noodles until they are smoothly covered. Top that with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, then sprinkle a bunch of Parmesan cheese over meat sauce. Repeat layers neatly and make sure top layer is bare noodles. Cover with tin foil. If you are cooking the lasagna in a disposable baking pan, you may want to put it on top of a sheet of foil in the oven so it doesn't burn on the bottom and so if it juices some, it makes less of a mess
- Bake in oven for 45 min. Take out lasagna, remove foil, and cover top layer with a blanket of mozzarella cheese and bake uncovered another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned. Sprinkle the top lightly with Parmesan cheese and oregano seasoning.
* When purchasing the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, get the kind with Italian seasoning...or, the fire-roasted kind for those who are spicy-seekers :)
*Any kind of red wine will do, even the cheapest brand. I tend to lean towards using Merlot.
*Adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper will give it some kick.
*Making the sauce portion is the longest part, and in the past I've even made it days ahead of time and froze it until I needed it. All you have to do when you need it is throw it in a saucepan and thaw it, so that you can build the lasagna layers.
*If you really enjoy spicy dishes, you can make it entirely with spicy sausage instead of making half the meat ground beef. The cheese compliments the spice really well.