Classic Lasagna

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I owe many of my Italian recipes to my mom, aunts and the legacy of their traditional cooking. Growing up, it was standard to enjoy classics such as eggplant Parmesan, spaghetti with meatballs/sausage and of course, the classic lasagna.

After much research, I’ve concluded that there are many recipes out there excluding ricotta cheese and with the addition a Béchamel (white) sauce, veggie, no sauce, etc. Needless to say my recipe for a classic lasagna is just like my mom taught me: simple and full of flavor. It’s easy to get intimidated by making this Italian-American classic, but I can assure you lasagna is incredibly easy to prepare and very forgiving if your measurements aren’t exact. Get ready for Sunday dinner, because it’s LASAGNA time!

Ingredients

1 28 oz can San Marzano whole, peeled tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage (sweet or spicy both work)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large basil sprig

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes

Salt/pepper

1 package lasagna noodles

16 oz whole milk ricotta

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 lbs. fresh mozzarella, grated or torn

4 hard boiled eggs, roughly chopped


1. Begin by heating a large pot over medium heat. Add the ground beef and ground Italian sausage. Sauté, breaking up with a spoon until no longer pink. Remove the meat from the pot using a slotted spoon.
2. Add the onion and garlic to the pot. Sauté for 1 minute.
3. Add the tomato paste. Sauté and stir for an additional minute.
4. Pour the San Marzano tomatoes in a bowl. Break up the tomatoes with your hands or very lightly pulse in a food processor.
5. Add the San Marzano tomatoes to the pot. Season with salt, pepper, chili flakes and oregano. Stir together. Add the spring of basil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
6. Add the ground beef and sausage to the pot. Cover and simmer for an additional 25 minutes. Note: taste to test seasoning and add additional salt, pepper or chili flakes to desired taste, if needed.
7. Remove the sauce from the stove and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Note: sauce can be prepared ahead of time and reheated prior to lasagna assembly. At this point, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
8. Follow the instructions for lasagna noodles prior to assembly.
9. Combine the ricotta, beaten egg, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and black pepper. Stir together and set aside.
10. In a large casserole dish, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of lasagna noodles, ricotta mixture, thin layer of sauce, hard boiled eggs and mozzarella cheese. Repeat these layers until you reach the top of the casserole dish. Top the last layer of noodles with a thin layer of sauce, mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
11. Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Increase the oven to 400 degrees, remove the foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
12. Remove from the oven. Let cool and top with freshly chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Elizabeth Canas