Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lasagna for a crowd

Sit back and loosen those belts for this tummy pleaser.

Primo Lasagna

  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion (1 small)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 - 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 - 6oz cans tomato paste
  • 2 - 6.5oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbs chopped fresh parsley (or 1/2 the amount dried)
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt (a divided amount, not from above)
  • 3/4 lb mozzarella cheese, sliced (I recommend getting a real buffalo variety)
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted and oiled water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions (for about 10 minutes). Drain noodles, and rinse in cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with one third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover with foil; prevent the sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray or try to make sure the foil does not touch the cheese. Go with the former as the later is practically impossible. Also, this fills the pan, so put some foil down beneath the oven rack to catch the spillage.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 12
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours and 15 minutes

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