Best Lasagna

Best Lasagna

Best Lasagna
Everybody needs that old standby recipe for great-tasting lasagna. Let this be yours. You'll fall in love with this Italian staple over and over again. We promise!
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Makes:
8 servings

Ingredients
FOR THE LASAGNA
1 (1 lb.) pkg. lasagna noodles
3/4 lb. ground beef
1/4 lb. ground pork
1 lb. Italian sausage (thinly sliced)
1 lb. button mushrooms (thinly sliced)
1 cup onions (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 (15 oz.) containers ricotta cheese
2 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 cup pitted ripe black olives (sliced)
1 lb. mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
FOR MARINARA SAUCE
2 (14 1/2 oz.) cans hunts chunky crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz.) cans hunts tomato paste
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic (cut in halves)
1 tsp. chopped garlic, in juice (from jar)
1 shallot (diced)
2 tbsp. dried oregano
4 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. granulated sugar

Methods/steps
Prepare lasagna according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Cook Italian sausage either in a skillet or by boiling in a pot of water, thinly slice crosswise or set aside. Brown the ground beef and ground pork in a skillet, drain off and discard fat. Add onion and garlic to the ground meat, stir and cook another 5 minutes. Add the sugar, salt, basil, fennel seeds, pepper and the Marinara sauce and simmer for 20 minutes. While the above mixture is simmering, combine in a large bowl the eggs, Ricotta cheese, and parsley. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take a 13 by 9 inch baking dish and spray the bottom with a non-stick spray, such as Pam. In the baking dish, spoon in a layer of 1/3 of the meat sauce. Then layer 1/3 of the lasagna pasta (overlapping each strip of pasta with the other). Then layer 1/3 of the Ricotta mixture. Then layer 1/3 of the sliced olives and 1/3 of the sliced Italian sausage. Then layer 1/3 of the sliced mushrooms. Then layer 1/3 of the Mozzarella and 1/3 of the Parmesan. Then continue to repeat the layering until all of the ingredients are layered. When the layering is completed, cover with aluminum foil, making certain that the foil is not touching the top of the lasagna, and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, another 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow sitting and resting 10 minutes before cutting. FOR THE MARINARA SAUCE Empty Hunts chunky crushed tomatoes and Hunts tomato paste into the pot. Add the extra-virgin olive oil to the pot. Slice the cloves of garlic crosswise into either halves or thirds or pieces, and dump them into the pot. Dice the shallot, and dump that into the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir to mix well with a large long handled wooden spoon. Do not strain, as the pulp adds to make this a thick and wonderful sauce. Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring every 10 minutes for about an hour or until it bubbles and is completely heated throughout. Reduce heat to simmer, and continue to simmer, stirring every 10 or 15 minutes to keep from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot for 1 or 2 hours. Remove from heat and give it one last stir. Serve over spaghetti, ravioli, pasta or use for chicken Parmesan, veal Parmesan, or anything that calls for a Marinara sauce.
Additional Tips
Ready in 1¾ hour 45 min prep

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