As you all know I am a pasta kind of girl. I love it, I could eat it daily. I don’t, but I could.
Lasagna is one of my favourites. It is labour intensive for sure, and it creates more darned dishes than any other meal I know of. In spite of all of this, it is well worth all the effort.
It is a good Sunday night dinner. I always make it earlier in the day and then all I have to do is put it in the oven an hour or so before dinner time!
Here is what you need,
1 box lasagna noodles
For the sauce,
1 lb. ground beef
1 can tomato sauce, whatever kind you like, I like hunts with herbs and spices
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
For the cheese layer,
1 container of ricotta cheese
1 container of cottage cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp of Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
for the topping,
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
To make the sauce, heat a large pan over medium high heat. Saute the chopped onion until it begins to soften. Add in the chopped bell pepper and cook for a couple more minutes until just soft. Add in the minced garlic and stir until fragrant. Add in the ground beef and cook until fully browned. Drain off any excess grease. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Add in the sauce a little at a time until you have enough to make a thick sauce. I used about ¾ of the can. I like my sauce a little thick, this helps to keep the finished lasagna from being too runny.
Once it has simmered for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a separate medium sized bowl mix together the ricotta cheese and the cottage cheese. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
Cook the lasagna noodles according to directions on the box. I use no boil noodles but I do cook them a little bit, I just find they never cook fully if I don’t. I boil mine for about 5 minutes until just soft. When they are done drain and run under cold water until they are cool enough to handle.
Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
I like to put a little sauce down on the very bottom just so the noodles don’t stick.
Then put a layer of noodles,
Top that with a little of the meat sauce,
Then a layer of the cheese mixture,
Then a little sprinkle of grated mozza cheese,
Top with another layer of noodles and repeat 2 more times.
End on top with a layer of noodles and top that with the remaining cup or so of grated mozza cheese and a little sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil.
Now you can cook it right away or you can put it in the fridge and cook it later, or you could wrap tightly and put in the freezer to cook next week or month!
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, or until hot and bubbly. You can turn on the broiler at the end to brown up the top if you like. I always do. There is nothing better than crispy melted cheese!
If you are going to freeze it, take out and put in the fridge over night to thaw, and then cook as usual.
It tastes so good. Serve with a slice of herb toast and a nice Caesar salad.
A perfect Sunday night dinner!