I like making things on the weekends that my wife and I can eat over the course of the week. I have more time to cook then and get to benefit from it during the week. Lasagna is great for this since it seems to get better as the week progresses.
This recipe is an adaptation from a Tyler Florence recipe found on the Food Network website. I switched up a few things in the directions area such as adding the oregano just to the tomato sauce and not to the ricotta mixture, and only cooking the onions and garlic instead of cooking the herbs and tomato sauce too. I defined some of the ingredients more specifically since these worked so well for me and should be readily available such as the Italian tomato paste and the 6-in-1 ground tomatoes. Also, I always try to use fresh herbs as they provide a disproportionately better result than dried herbs for just slightly more effort.
Adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe from http://www.foodnetwork.com
Prep Time: 1 hr 10 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min
Serves: 12 servings
Preheat oven to 350º F
1 pound dried lasagna noodles
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
3 bay leaves, finely chopped
1 3/4 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground Italian sausage
9 ounces Italian tomato paste, (1 1/2 bottles of the good stuff)
32 ounces ricotta cheese, (2 – 16oz containers)
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 cups 6-in-1 ground tomatoes
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
Grated Parmesan and mozzarella, for topping
Cook the lasagna noodles in plenty of boiling salted water until pliable and barely tender, about 10 minutes. Stir to prevent sticking. Drain the noodles thoroughly, coat with olive oil keep them moist and easy to work with.
Coat a large skillet with olive oil. Saute over medium heat, onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Meanwhile in a medium sized bowl combine tomato sauce and herbs. Add onions and garlic to tomato mixutre and season with salt and pepper.
Brown beef and sausage until no longer pink, about 15 minutes. Drain fat. Stir in the tomato paste. Set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta and parsley. Stir in beaten eggs. Add Parmesan, season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the lasagna: Coat the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch pan with a ladle full of tomato sauce. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise in a slightly overlapping layer on the sauce. Then, line each end of the pan with a lasagna noodle. This forms a collar that holds in the corners. Spread 1/2 of the meat mixture over the pasta. Dollop 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the meat, spread to the edges with a spatula. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta. Top with a ladle full of tomato sauce, spread evenly. Repeat with the next layer of noodles, meat, cheeses and sauce. Top last layer with noodles, sauce and shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. Tap the pan to force out air bubbles. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven. Let lasagna rest for 10-15 minutes then serve.