Wednesday, October 6, 2010

World's Best Lasagna

• 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
• 3/4 pound lean ground beef
• 1/2 cup minced onion
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
• 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
• 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 tablespoons white sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 12 lasagna noodles
• 16 ounces ricotta cheese
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
• 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. 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. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Ok, without a doubt, the BEST lasagna EVER. I’ve had lasagna at many Italian restaurants and this is by far the best. Takes a little time, but WORTH it.

Adapted from

-I didn’t take out the meat needed out of the freezer ahead of time, so I was forced to stop at a grocery store I usually don’t frequent to pick it up. Food Lion doesn’t have a good selection of anything, and especially Italian meat. I ended up with Johnsonville 4 Cheese Sweet Sausage. I’m sure the cheese only added to the flavor of the dish.
-I used fresh grated Parm cheese, it’s so much better than the powdered, preservative laden container on the shelves. I mean really... why is some refrigerated and others isn’t?
-Sliced mozzarella is AMAZING. Grating mozzarella cheese is for the birds!
-I just used my soup pan, I don't have a Dutch Oven.
-I have leftover sauce, but I refrigerated it and will make pizza with it later this week.

I made homemade Garlic Knots and a large Garden Salad with Olive Garden dressing to go with the lasagna. (These recipes to follow.) Last minute we invited our in-laws over because, well why the heck not?


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