Lasagna

by Lana Stuart on January 24, 2012 · 22 comments

Lasagna

Sunshine! There’s sunshine today! Beautiful, bright, brilliant sunshine. Why am I so excited? Because for at least the past week we’ve had either rain or heavy fog. Cold, grey days that seemed to just drag by. Now I’m not complaining about the rain, goodness knows we need it, but just for today I’m so happy to see the sun. And besides, an occasional rainy weekend is actually rather enjoyable. It always seems to make us slow down and relax instead of running around trying to do a week’s worth of errands. And, of course, on slow relaxing days like that I always find myself in the kitchen.

Sunday was the perfect day to get into the kitchen and make something that takes a little more time. Requires a little more patience. No rushing around. Just enjoying the process and anticipating the outcome. And what better recipe to make on a rainy Sunday than this lasagna. Layers and layers of pasta, ricotta, mozzarella, marinara and ground beef. Perfect lazy Sunday food. Now I’m certainly not Italian. In fact, I know that there is absolutely no Italian ancestry in my family. In the days before I started blogging, one of my long-time hobbies was genealogy. I’ve researched my family tree from here back to the mid-1600′s and I can say with absolute certainty that there is nothing remotely Italian in that lineage. But, wow, do I enjoy Italian food! So, not being Italian, I can’t guarantee that this lasagna is purely authentic, but I can guarantee you one thing – it’s dadgum good.

When I make lasagna I always like to make my own marinara sauce. If you want to take a shortcut, by all means please do so. There are some fine jarred marinara sauces on the market now and any one of them will work beautifully in this recipe. But, if you’re making your own, here’s how you start.

Marinara sauce for lasagna

In a deep, heavy pan over medium high heat, saute onion, garlic, celery and parsley until the onion becomes translucent. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes. Use a hand-held blender directly in the cooking pan to create a smooth sauce (If you don’t have a hand-held blender, you can transfer the sauce by small amounts to a blender or food processor and then returned to the pan). Add the basil, oregano, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

I prefer to use San Marzano tomatoes for my Marinara sauce. And my favorite brand is Cento, but you use whatever you like.

(Note: the recipe I give you below makes about twice as much Marinara sauce as needed for the lasagna recipe. You can divide the recipe in half you want to, but I always make a big batch. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.)

Cook 12 lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain well, rinse with cool water and just set them aside in a colander to drain while you proceed with the recipe.

Meat sauce for lasagna

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Cook the ground beef until no pink remains. Drain the fat from the beef and return it to the skillet. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir one cup of Marinara sauce into the ground beef, mixing well. Set aside. (I don’t know what happened with that photo of the meat sauce. Yikes. I’ll do better next time.)

Ricotta Cheese mixture for lasagna

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Now all that’s left is just to assemble the lasagna:

Lasagna ready for the oven

Spray a 13×9 inch pan lightly with cooking spray. Spread 1 cup Marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan. First layer – 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the meat mixture, 1 cup Marinara sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Second layer – 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1 ½ cups Marinara sauce. Third layer – 4 lasagna noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, remaining meat mixture, 1 cup marinara sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Cover pan with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy!

Lasagna

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Lasagna

Traditional beef lasagna layered with noodles, cheeses and Marinara sauce.

Ingredients

    For the Marinara Sauce:
  • 6 tblsp. olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 tblsp. chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 28-oz. cans Italian tomatoes
  • 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • For the Lasagna:
  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions, drained well
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Salt and pepper
  • 15 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 1/2 cups Marinara sauce (recipe above)

Instructions

    To make the Marinara sauce:
  1. In a deep, heavy pan over medium high heat, saute the onion, garlic, celery and parsley until the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes.
  4. Use a hand-held blender directly in the cooking pan to create a smooth sauce (If you don’t have a hand-held blender, you can transfer the sauce by small amounts to a blender or food processor and then returned to the pan).
  5. Add the basil, oregano, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. To create the lasagna:
  7. Cook lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
  8. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat.
  9. Cook the ground beef until no pink remains. Drain the fat from the beef and return it to the skillet.
  10. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  11. Stir one cup of Marinara sauce into the ground beef, mixing well. Set aside.
  12. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  14. Assemble the lasagna:
  15. Spray a 13x9 inch pan lightly with cooking spray.
  16. Spread 1 cup Marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan.
  17. First layer - 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the meat mixture, 1 cup Marinara sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese.
  18. Second layer - 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1 ½ cups Marinara sauce.
  19. Third layer - 4 lasagna noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, remaining meat mixture, 1 cup marinara sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese.
  20. Top with Parmesan cheese.
  21. Cover pan with foil and bake 45 minutes.
  22. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  23. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Notes

(Note: the Marinara recipe makes about twice as much sauce as needed for the lasagna recipe. You can divide the recipe in half you want to, but I always make a big batch. The remainder can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to three months.)

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http://www.lanascooking.com/2012/01/24/lasagna/

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katrina January 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Love lasagna! This looks de-lish. And I wish I had it ready for dinner
tonight! ;)

Reply

2 Lana January 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Wish I could send you one, Katrina!

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3 Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet January 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Looks fantastic Lana! I love lasagne! Now I’ll be craving it all day long!! :)

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4 Cookin' Canuck January 24, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Ah yes, I’ve lasagna on my mind (and in my oven) this week too, Lana. I truly don’t think there is a better wintertime meal. I love that first photo, full of sun and the promise of spring.

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5 Lana January 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm

We’ve had two days of sunshine but the rain comes back tomorrow. That’s okay, though, we really need it to replenish the lakes.

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6 Gio January 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Never tried marinara sauce before but this looks like an easy dish! I might try this some time. Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of the canned kind?

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7 Lana January 24, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Yes, of course.

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8 Neena January 24, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Looks WONDERFUL. Wish I could be there when you serve.

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9 Lana January 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I wish you could, too!

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10 Terra January 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Okay you are awesome! I love that you make homemade sauce, and I love how creamy the sauce looks, simply delicious! My husband and I adore lasagna, but I never make homemade sauce. I need to in the future though, love how your lasagna looks, Beautiful! Hugs, Terra

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11 Lana January 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Terra – this recipe for Marinara is so easy and you can adjust it to suit your family’s tastes. Another plus – you know it’s free of preservatives! I hope you’ll try it sometime.

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12 Steffazia January 25, 2012 at 6:02 am

Hi i ‘m 100% italian, this lasagna is very different from a real italian lasagna (lasagne in italy) but It looks delicious too. Enjoy it!

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13 Lana January 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Oh, I’m sure it’s very different, Steffazia. But it is quite typical of the way it’s made in the U.S. How is real Italian lasagna different?

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14 Simply Tia January 25, 2012 at 6:15 am

This lasagna looks so wonderful and delicious! Definitely something that will warm ones heart and soul! Good stuff!

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15 Amy January 25, 2012 at 8:23 am

I’m with you on the sunshine! What a downer it’s been, so when it popped out here yesterday it was like a breath of fresh air again. Lovely lasagna!

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16 Lana January 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm

It was, wasn’t it? I was just so glad to feel the sunshine on my face for a little while. Rain’s coming back tomorrow, though.

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17 Suzanne January 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

A favorite comfort food for winter. Your sauce looks really hearty and good.
We have had so much sunshine this winter I can hardly believe it’s winter, I just love it, enjoy the sunshine :)

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18 Lana January 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Thanks, Suzanne. It has been very cool, gray and wet here but still lots milder than a normal winter. Not even a hint of snow so far and we usually have at least a few light flurries.

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19 Jenn January 25, 2012 at 10:32 am

Wow this looks awesome!! I haven’t had lasagne in ever :)

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20 Nancy@acommunaltable January 26, 2012 at 2:23 pm

It’s been too long since I’ve made lasagna – this is very similar to my mom’s recipe – I’ve been making one that subs italian sausage for half the beef and I add fresh basil to the ricotta. Oh man, now I want lasagna!!

Reply

21 Sarah February 17, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!! I made it for dinner tonight, and everyone loved it!! It is so great to have another favorite, go to recipe!!

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22 Lana February 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the lasagna! Please visit again.

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