So, a couple of weeks ago I had a hankering for lasagna. I tend to like to follow my urges, even if it does mean consuming vast amounts of tasty tasty pasta. This brought up the first hurdle. It went something like this:
Husband: Lasagna? Awesome. I love it, we'll need to buy ricotta cheese.
Me: Ricotta? What for?
Husband: For the lasagna.
Me: Uhh no, Mozzarella and Parmesan actually.
Husband: But you have to have ricotta to go in the layers.
See, growing up, I have always had Lasagna made with a Béchamel Sauce and lots of shredded cheese, its how we do it where I come from. Obviously this is not the Lasagna that my husband grew up with. So, I did some research. Turns out that the Ricotta Lasagna is how its mostly made in America. The sauce version is the Italian style one. So, I dug out my recipes and made my favorite childhood lasagna.
He was suspicious but happily ate it, and all the left overs.
You can use a jar of pasta sauce if you want to, or, this is the perfect place to use the pasta sauce recipe (https://www.zinzeudo.com/
- 9 regular lasagna noodles (or no-boil noodles)
- 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/2 large onion , chopped
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- a pinch of Nutmeg
- salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
Make the Pasta Sauce – You can make this in advance and store it in the fridge.
Add Olive Oil to a large skillet, lightly saute the onions and garlic until just translucent. Set aside.
In the same skillet, brown the ground beef and sausage over medium-high heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. When cooked, drain any excess grease.
Add the onion, and garlic into the beef. Stir together over medium heat for a minute or two.
Add in Italian seasonings and the Red sauce and stir.
While the meat cooks, boil the lasagna noodles for half the time suggested on the box, if you are using no-boil noodles don't do this part. Drain and sprinkle with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together, seriously, you only need a few drops.
For the Béchamel:
Melt butter in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Be careful not to let it brown. When it is just sizzling, add the flour, stirring constantly to combine..
Add the milk in a little at a time, stirring well after each addition. If you add the milk slowly you will end up with a lovely smooth sauce. The only time I have ever had lumps in my sauce is if I dumped all the milk in at once.
Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. You want a nice thick pouring consistency. NOT a gluggy paste.-- about 5 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with olive oil or cooking spray. (Bonus points for using Olive Oil Cooking Spray).
Once assembled, you'll have four layers of noodles, and three layers of the sauces and cheese. Keep this in mind so you don't run out of anything.
Spoon the meat sauce over the noodles, then the Béchamel, top with about a third of your cheeses. Make sure that each layer gets spread right to the edges of the pan. Rinse, repeat, three times.
I like to top with a final layer of noodles, and then still more cheese (because you can never have enough, right?)
Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 - 15 minutes before serving.
To make ahead
You can make the red sauce in advance, every time i have tried to make Béchamel in advance it has been a disaster, you're better off making that fresh.
This will keep in the fridge for up to two days. or freeze for up to two months. Be sure to defrost fully before baking. Cook covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for another 15.
Egg: fertility, spirituality, rejuvenation, mysteries
Cheese: completion, enhancing energy
Beef: energy, excitement, strength
Pork: Strength; fertility; luck; prosperity; longevity
Olive Oil: Fidelity, marriage, peace, protection
Garlic: protection, health, strength, endurance, male fertility, male potency, courage, inspiration
Onion: oaths, promises, warding, protection, health, banishing, virility, potency, male fertility, energy, psychic, spiritual
Basil: love, protection, harmony, money
Oregano: peace, tranquility, protection, luck, health, loneliness, heartbreak, psychic powers, dreams, privacy, legal, homesickness
Rosemary: remembrance, memory, love, loyalty
Marjoram: protective, spreading joy and bringing good fortune.
Thyme: dreams, sleep, healing, protection, emotions, love, purification, psychic, awareness
Red Pepper: energy, vitality, strength
Butter: spirituality, communication, reconciliation, enhancing energies
Flour: fruitfulness, bounty, and rebirth
Milk: Prosperity, Nurturing, Protection, Success
Nutmeg: luck, prosperity, money, gambling