Ok, here’s the deal–there are some recipes I hide. I don’t share well with others. I guess it’s because, I don’t often come up with recipes. It takes YEARS of failures and a healthy dose of stubborn refusal to accept anything less than exactly what I want a recipe to be for a recipe to develop into something great.
My lasagna is one of those recipes.
YEARS of toil and tweaking went into this recipe–and now I’ve decided to share it with you.
Unlike meatloaf, pretty lasagna isn’t nearly as tasty as messy lasagna.
A few notes.
- I cheat. I use pre-made spaghetti sauce. Yes, I have made sauce from scratch. Yes, it’s yummy. But it isn’t yummi-er. Plus, lasagna is a little labor-intensive, so any way to save time and retain taste is fine by me.
- -This is also the reason I use no-boil noodles.
Recipe makes enough for one standard-sized casserole dish. You will have leftover cheese mix. There is no practical way to fix this.
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb mild Italian sausage
2 jars spaghetti sauce (I use 1 jar meat flavored, one jar mushroom flavored from Aldi)
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tsp Italian Seasoning
15 oz Ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
1 to 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
1 TBSP Basil
- Brown and crumble meat in skillet.
- Drain grease and pat dry. Return to skillet.
- Add spaghetti sauce, water, sugar and Italian Seasoning. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350
- While simmering/preheating, combine Ricotta, egg, Mozzarella, Basil and Parmesan in a medium bowl.
*For a drier mix (which I prefer) add more Parmesan. For a stringier cheese (which my boys prefer) add more Mozz.
- Use a large ladle to spoon sauce into bottom of casserole dish.
- Using clean hands, take a no-boil noodle and press a layer of cheese mixture onto one side of it. Then lay the noodle in the sauce, cheese side UP. (Trust me, this prevents noodles from cracking and cheese ending up in the sauce layer).
- Repeat for each noodle until your first layer is complete.
- Then add enough sauce to cover the noodles and repeat.
*I like to lay the 2nd layer of noodles going the opposite direction because I think it helps the lasagna come out in nicer pieces…but I have no proof of this.
- Repeat until noodles are approximately 1 inch from top of dish. End with sauce.
- Top with additional Mozzarella and bake for 1 hour at 350.
- Remove and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
There it is! This recipe is a huge hit around here.
My inspiration for this lasagna is two-fold. Firstly, I never really like lasagna as a kid. I honestly still don’t really like ones from restaurants or the pre-made ones from the store because I’m not a cheese eater. When I was 18, however, I had the privilege of visiting New York City with my sister. We returned to our hotel one night, completely exhausted, and ordered in. Lasagna. It was GLORIOUS.
It took me a few years to discover the “non-stringy” cheese that had been used (Ricotta), but once I did, I began trying to duplicate that great lasagna of long ago.
Second, my amazing grandma from Oklahoma included an “Easy Lasagna” recipe in the cookbook binder she hand made for me. From this, I learned that lasagna didn’t have to involve 14,000 steps, a headache and a fortune. She’s the reason I had the patience to tweak this recipe–I’ve made many, many lasagnas because of her contribution!
Fun note-J likes to call himself Garfield when I make this because the skinny kid can pack it away! He will eat it literally for breakfast, lunch and dinner until there is nothing left.
Makes this mama pretty proud.
I really hope you enjoy!