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My take on a family classic: lasagna

November 4, 2012
tags: ,

Yum is all I can say about this recipe. This lasagna really hits the spot on a chilly autumn day.

I grew up eating a version of this lasagna that my Dad made. We don’t really work with written recipes in my family so it has changed a bit since I was taught how to make it. While I don’t eat cheese very often, this dish is always an exception. There is even a little bit of spinach squeezed in, to make you feel like you are getting all of your veggies along with the cheese and pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 2, 32 oz jars of spaghetti sauce (or better yet, make your own). I use Mid’s, a line my grocery store carries – unbelievably good.
  • 1 tub of whole milk ricotta cheese (the tall 3 lb container)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups of mozzarella cheese
  • 12 wavy lasagna noodles (almost a whole 16 oz box) do NOT get the “no boil”
  • 2 lbs of ground beef
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tsp of oregano

Equipment:

  • 9″x13″ or larger glass rectangular dish. The deeper the better
  • large pot for boiling the noodles
  • several glass or stainless steel bowls for combining the ingredients

Time:

  • 1 hour preparation
  • 45 minutes to bake

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
  2. Add the noodles to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for 7-8 minutes. Do NOT over cook them or they will turn to mush in the oven. Move on to step 3 while the noodles are cooking. Drain immediately after boiling and soak them in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
  3. While the noodles are boiling, add the ground beef to a large heated skillet. Sprinkle the beef with salt, pepper, oregano, and cook on medium/high until browned (10-15 minutes depending on your pan and stove-top). While the beef is cooking, make sure to remove and drain the noodles. Move on the step 4.  After beef is browned remove from heat and set aside.
  4. While the beef is cooking, and the noodles are soaking in the ice bath, start the ricotta cheese mixture. In a large bowl combine the beaten eggs, 1 cup of parmesan cheese, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, and the entire tub of ricotta cheese.
  5. Wash and dry the spinach. Chop into dime size pieces and add to the ricotta cheese mixture.
  6. At this point you should have a skillet of cooked beef set aside, a large bowl full of the ricotta cheese mixture, and noodles soaking in an ice bath. You are now ready to assemble. The assembly is just layering of the 4 main ingredients: noodles, meat, sauce, cheese.
  7. Spread 2 tablespoons of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the glass dish. This prevents the noodles from burning and sticking to the bottom of the dish when baking.
  8. Lay 4 noodles in the bottom of the glass dish, side-by-side, so that the entire bottom is covered.
  9. Evenly sprinkle 1/2 of the ground beef on top of noodle layer. It’s OK if you can see the noodles through the beef,  you just want enough coverage so that each piece will have some meat.
  10. Evenly cover the beef with 1/2 a jar of spaghetti sauce. The sauce will mix into the beef layer.
  11. Use a spoon to dollop the ricotta cheese mixture in each corner and the center of the dish, on top of the beef/sauce layer. Use the spoon to smooth the dollops into one layer (about 1/2 inch thick).
  12. Sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese on top of the ricotta cheese mixture.
  13. Create another layer of noodles on top of the ricotta cheese, covering the cheese completely, but trying not to over lap the noodles. You can always cut the noodles to size if they are too long.
  14. Repeat steps 9-13, using up the remaining beef and ricotta cheese mixtures.
  15. You should have a pan full of lasagna, topped with a naked layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with 1/2 a jar of spaghetti sauce.
  16. Evenly sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
  17. Cover with tin foil and cook for 30 minutes at 375 ºF. Remove the foil and cook for 15 more minutes until the cheese is golden brown around the edges.
  18. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2012 11:53 AM

    Yum!!! This looks fabulous! Lasagna is one of my all time favourite foods. I’m majorally craving it now! haha.

    ps- I popped over since we are doing the Christmas Card Exchange together- figured we should get to know each other ; )

  2. November 8, 2012 1:06 PM

    Oh my goodness. That looks absolutely delicious!

  3. November 6, 2012 4:50 PM

    Awe. That looks delicious!! OK. So you live in Ann Arbor, yes? Random question. What are the summers like there?

    xoxo
    – – – – –
    e

    • November 9, 2012 2:43 PM

      We do. Ann Arbor is beautiful in the summer – lush, in the 80’s, very sunny. I love MI more than we when lived in CO.

  4. November 4, 2012 10:46 PM

    Mmmm. Looks good. I’ll be right over!

  5. Rita L. permalink
    November 4, 2012 4:22 PM

    I have had the privilege of eating this lasagna and it is absolutely delicious!!

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