Friday, May 6, 2011

Homemade Lasagna

This recipe uses the homemade spaghetti sauce recipe I posted a few weeks ago. I'm obsessed with this recipe and have been trying to find any excuse to make it. The first time I tried this homemade lasagna it turned out pretty fantastically. I made it for my family before I left for Oklahoma and all members agreed it was pretty tasty. The second time I made it (a week later) I was under a time constraint and didn't let things cook entirely and rushed through the recipe not even double checking to make sure I had put everything in. Well, it didn't turn out so well and was really just a gooey mess. It didn't taste too horrible, at least I like to hope so, but it was a pretty big fail on my part.

Anyways, despite the second trial fail, this recipe is still pretty amazing when done right and not rushed in a 30-40 minute time frame, which includes the time it takes to go to the store and find the ingredients that aren't in my pantry.

1 lb. Lasagna Noodles
1 lb. Ground Beef (or any protein of your choice)
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, finely chopped
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can Diced Tomato
1 28 ounce can Tomato Sauce
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
1 tsp. Sugar
Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Heavy Cream (optional)
32 ounces Ricotta Cheese
2 eggs
4 cups Mozzarella, shredded

In a large pot bring water to a boil. Generously salt the water and add the noodles as well as olive oil. (If you do not add the olive oil your lasagna noodles will be a mess to peel apart!)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, brown the ground beef (or whatever protein you choose to use). Add in the onions and garlic and continue to cook until the onions are translucent and the beef is browned.
Stir in the diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce, oregano, and heavy cream and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. (Because I am not a huge fan of that overly strong tomato-y taste, I almost always mix in heavy cream just to dumb down that tomato flavor. I did the same with this recipe and it still tasted fantastic.)
Remove from heat and stir in chopped basil, sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

About the time the sauce has finished, the noodles should be ready. Dump them over a strainer and let cool so you don't burn your fingers off while assembling the lasagna.
While the noodles are cooling, in a separate large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and two eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Clear off some counter space and put your sauce and ricotta mixture on the counter with a 9"X13" pan. (The first time I made this, we had a very deep casserole dish. The second time, I only had a regular 9"X13" cake pan available. If I had a preference it would of course be with the deep casserole dish.)
Put some sauce in the bottom of whatever pan you are using to act as glue for the first layer of noodles. Place as many lasagna noodles as needed to cover the bottom of the pan.

Next, spread a layer of ricotta cheese on top of the noodles.

I spread a layer of mozzarella cheese after the ricotta mixture and then another layer of sauce. Do this until the dish is completely full. Spread a final layer of sauce and then the remaining mozzarella cheese to complete.

Bake at 400°F for about 25-30 minutes or until the cheese on top is brown and bubbling.

This dish is so delicious if done right!

Happy Eating!

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