While my recipe for lasagna differs from that of an authentic Italian grandmother's, this mega pan of rich, cheesy goodness is a favorite for my family.
The three types of meat used are ground pork, ground chuck and mild Italian Sausage. The cheeses are Ricotta, Parmesan, Romano, Asiago and Mozzarella. The sauce is made an hour or two before you're ready to assemble the lasagna, so that it has time to slowly simmer and reduce to concentrate all those delicious layers of flavor. You will need a very deep lasagna pan (at least 4 inches deep) because this recipe will make enough for a crowd. Alternatively, you can use two 9 x 13 baking dishes and bake one lasagna now and freeze the other one for later.
Serves: 5 to 7
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound mild Italian Sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups diced Roma tomatoes with juice
3 large cans (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
4 small cans (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 tablespoons each chopped basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano, salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large container ricotta cheese
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 cups 3 Cheese Italian Blend cheese (divided)
2 boxes lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the ground pork, ground chuck and sausage in the Dutch oven until thoroughly cooked. Remove the browned meat from the pot and set aside. Deglaze the pot with the wine, scraping up all the browned bits. (There is excellent flavor there!) When the wine has reduced by half, add the meat back into the Dutch oven.
While the meat is browning, in a separate medium skillet, saute; the onions, peppers and garlic in 1 teaspoon olive oil until softened.
Add the onions/peppers/garlic, along with the chopped Roma tomatoes, in with the browned meat. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and the herbs. At this point, taste to check the seasonings and add salt and pepper.
Reduce heat and let the sauce simmer for about an hour or so. Stir occasionally, so it doesn't stick.
In a large bowl combine ricotta, eggs, parsley, Parmesan, mozzarella and half the Italian cheese blend.
Spray the lasagna pan with nonstick spray. Now the fun begins with building the layers. Add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of the pan. Place one layer of noodles, overlapping them slightly. Carefully spread a thin layer of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Now it's time for another layer of sauce. Repeat layers until you've used all the noodles. Finish with the remaining half of the Italian cheese blend on top of the layered lasagna.
Cover with foil and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 90 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, remove foil. Let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.
Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years.