Friday, March 31, 2017

Family Lasagna

Today's post is about the first time I ever cooked for my special someone.  We had been dating a few weeks and it was Valentine's Day.  I knew that he loved lasagna, so I chose that for our menu.

And then I realized that I didn't have a go to meaty lasagna recipe.  Sure, I have an epic veggie lasagna  and another beloved white lasagna recipe tucked away, but nothing manly and meaty.  I picked out something from a well known food blog and marshaled the ingredients.  I arrived home and headed for the kitchen.  I wasn't expecting my beloved to show up for another hour, but he arrived early and pitched in a helping hand.

Folks, I don't know what happened.  Maybe it was just the spell of new love, but the lasagna was a disaster.  We ended up with twice the sauce, half the noodles, and an odd ratio of Parmesan to mozzarella.    And you know what?  We looked into each others eyes and ate to our hearts' content.  The leftovers sat in my freezer until our first anniversary.  I tried other recipes, but was never that impressed.  Then one evening I went over to his house and found this lasagna waiting for me.  We were set.

If it's just for us, I'll make the 8"x8" version, which give us a good meal and a reasonable amount of leftovers.  If we're feeding a crowd, we double the recipe and bake it up in a 9"x13" pan.  The cooking time is the same either way.

Yield: your choice.  As written for an 8"x8" pan, double everything except for ricotta for 9"x13"
  • 1 pound ground beef (prefer as lean as possible, 93 or 96%)
  • 4 cups tomato sauce
  • 6 no cook lasagna noodles
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese, full fat
  • cups shredded cheese, mozzarella-provolone blend
  • Parmesan cheese for topping

Cook the ground beef.  Drain if necessary.

Pour enough tomato sauce into the pan to cover the bottom.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Grab some noodles.

Line the bottom of the pan with two noodles.  If you're making the9"x13" version, the noodles won't cover the pan evenly.  Use even noodles and break a spare noodle down to get a single layer noodle covering.

Top the noodles with sauce and ⅓ of the beef.

Add of the ricotta.  I like the small chunk method, as shown, but you can also spread it out if you prefer.

  Layer on the mozzie-provolone.


To finish it off, top with a thin layer of tomato sauce and a modest coating of cheese.  Add a bit of Parmesan to the mix.

For baking, we need to cover it with something that doesn't stick to cheese.  I use parchment paper and cover it with foil (yes, you can buy a product that's parchment paper on one side and foil on the other, but I didn't happen to have that on hand).

Bake for 45 minutes and remove the foil and parchment.  Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes to give it a little browning.

 Let it cool.

And let the eatin' begin.

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