Okay, anyone who knows me personally know I don’t eat pasta or cheese, but that does not mean I won’t make it for someone else to enjoy. Michelle and Sean both really like lasagna, and since we had Sean’s birthday meal not that long ago, he decided that he wanted to have some lasagna for his dinner. For me, this needs to be as simple of a recipe as it can be, and Cook’s Illustrated gave me just that in their cookbook with a straightforward meat lasagna with not a lot of ingredients that was easy to make.
Tomato Meat Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
14 ounces (1 3/4 cups) ricotta cheese
2 1/2 ounces (1 1/4 cups) Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
16 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (4 cups)
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
For the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the ground beef, salt, and pepper, increase the heat to medium-high and cook, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and bring the mixture to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and only rendered fat remains, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and the diced tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook until the flavors meld, about 3 minutes. Set the sauce aside.
For the cheese filling: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the basil, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Spread 1/4 cup of the meat sauce evenly over the bottom of a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles in a single layer on top of the meat sauce. Spread each noodle evenly with 3 tablespoons of the ricotta cheese mixture and sprinkle the entire layer with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce over the top. Repeat the layering of the noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese and the meat sauce 2 more times. For the final layer, arrange the remaining 3 noodles on top and cover the top completely with the remaining meat sauce.. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese then sprinkle it with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the aluminum foil and continue to bake until the cheese is spotty brown and the edges are just bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool the lasagna for 15 minutes before serving.
It was much easier to make this way using the no-boil noodles, but if you prefer to make your own noodles then you should go right ahead. I know everyone has their own family lasagna recipe, but if you are making your own for the first time and need one to start with then this one is pretty good to use because it is easy to follow and gives you good results. you can serve this with a simple side salad and some homemade garlic bread and you are good to go for the night. I know we’ll be making it again since Sean and Michelle love it so much.
That’s all I have for today.Check back next time for another recipe and see what comes along. I still have lots to choose from. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!