Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Lasagna

It seems like every time I have people over, I'm still slavin' away in the kitchen when they arrive because.. well, because I'm running late! I have poor time management skills in the kitchen, and that is a fact. So I'm opting for something I can make the day before: lasagna!
My lasagna is a weekend-long affair. I start the sauce Saturday morning because I like to let it simmer for at least 3 hours. I assemble the lasagna on Saturday afternoon, and throw it in the fridge until Sunday afternoon.

World's Best (& only recipe I've ever tried to make..) Lasagna
Feeds 8-10 people.

Saturday Morning
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large or 2 small yellow onion, minced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6-10 cloves garlic, crushed 
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree [is there a difference?]
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  1. Brown the Italian sausages (casings removed) and lean ground beef in a large pot. Drain the fat (leave about a tablespoon in the pot)- set the meat aside.
  2. Cook the onions in the pot you browned the meat. Once the onions are translucent, add the meat back into the pot, along with the garlic. 
  3. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and water. 
  4. Season with brown sugar, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and pepper flakes.
  5. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Taste the sauce- if it still has an acidic bite to it, stir in one more tablespoon of brown sugar.
  6. Stir in the fresh parsley and basil, simmer for another hour.

Saturday Afternoon
Assembling the Lasagna
  • Lasagna Noodles
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Soak the lasagna noodles in hot tap water for 20-30 minutes. They won't be cooked, but they will become soft (they'll finish cooking in the oven).
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, parsley, egg, salt, and nutmeg.
  3. In a 9" x 13" dish (preferably a deep one!), spread 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce. Arrange a layer of noodles over the meat sauce. Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles. Arrange a third of the mozzarella cheese over the ricotta, sprinkle with parmesan. Meat sauce..noodle... cheese.. Then..uh..Hmm.. I'm confusing myself typing this out. Let's just do this in list-form!!
Lasagna Layers
    • 1 1/2 cup meat sauce
    • lasagna noodles
    • 1/2 ricotta cheese mixture
    • 1/4 lb. mozzarella slices
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
    • 1 1/2 cup meat sauce
    • lasagna noodles
    • 1/2 ricotta cheese mixture
    • 1/4 lb. mozzarella slices
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
    • 1 1/2 cup meat sauce
    • lasagna noodles
    • 1 1/2 cup meat sauce
    • 1/4 lbs. mozzarella slices
    • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Now cover this bad boy with aluminum foil, throw it in the fridge, and do all those dishes!

Sunday Afternoon
Remove the lasagna from the fridge about 3 hours before you plan on serving it. Bring it to room temperature on the counter for about an hour before you bake it, then plan on it taking longer in the oven then you expect, because that's how life goes

Sunday Evening
Baking the Lasagna.
Bake the covered lasagna in a 350 degree oven for 60-75 minutes.
Remove the foil, raise the oven temperature to 375, and bake for an additional 25 minutes (until the cheese looks beautiful!)
Remove the lasagna from the oven, and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

My Lasagna Tips:
  • I made the lasagna in a 9" x 13" pan because I was feeding 6 adults and 3 children, but normally I prefer to make it in two smaller pans (usually 8" or 9" square pans). It's especially convenient to make them in disposable pans, throw one in the freezer and have a pre-made meal for a weeknight (leave the frozen lasagna in the fridge overnight to thaw before baking). I think I prefer making them in two separate pans because.. well.. Did you see 'The Family Stone' with Sarah Jessica Parker? I worry about dropping the big pans. 
  • Before you cover the lasagna pans, lightly spray the foil with Pam or any other non-stick cooking spray. It'll prevent the cheese from sticking to the foil while it's baking, which will help keep the top of your lasagna beaaaautiful!
  • Don't over-sauce the lasagna! It's so tempting to put a thick layer of sauce on, but it'll make the lasagna borderline impossible to serve because the noodles will slip and slide all over the sauce, thus creating a big 'ol weird looking lasagna pile on your plate. There WILL be leftover sauce! A LOT of leftover sauce! You could make two giant lasagnas with the amount of sauce this recipe makes. Just throw it in some tupperware and use it later in the week, or freeze it for another use later.


  1. love the new blog sumi! will add it to the cooking blogs i regularly read! lasagna looks delish :)

  2. YUM! I don't ever attempt making homemade lasagna but after looking at your yummy recipe, I just may give it a try!

  3. So i have been searching for a good homemade sauce for my lasagna! Im so trying urs this next time I make it :)
    Thanks for starting this blog!