Okay, I am not kidding, this is THE lasagna. Granted, it takes a little effort, but it feeds an army and it is soooooo good. I use a mix of Italian sausage and ground beef even though I am not a huge sausage fan. I don’t think the sausage is flavor is stand out, but it adds a nice hint of something different; if you are hesitant to add sausage you can certainly use ground beef or any meat of your choice in it’s place. When I make lasagna I do so in about a three day long process; I cook the sauce all day on day one and refrigerate (sometimes for two days), assemble the lasagna on day two and refrigerate, then finally cook it on day three and devour it. It can be made all in one day, but I like to do it this way because I feel like it takes less time in my day and it lets the flavors really develop. This meal always goes over well and makes great left overs that can be frozen individually for a quick last-minute meal later. Enjoy!
Best Lasagna Ever
1 pound sweet Italian sausage (I use turkey sausage)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tbsp minced garlic
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
1 (15 oz) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp dried basil (or 1/2 cup fresh)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
12 lasagna noodles ( I use whole wheat)
16 ounces ricotta cheese (Of course, made with skim milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 oz shredded Italian cheese blend
In a large pan over medium high cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer, covered, for at least 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. (**Alternatively soak the noodles in a large bowl of very hot water for about 20-30 minutes to soften a bit, they will cook through when the lasagna cooks). In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese with egg, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a dash of nutmeg. If you are going to cook immediately, then preheat your oven to 375º.
To assemble, spread about 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles over the meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture then top with about a third of the cheese; repeat the layers then top with the remaining shredded cheese. If cooking immediately, cover the lasagna with foil (to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese) and bake in preheated oven for about an hour, removing the foil half way through. If you are refrigerating to cook later, cover well and do so. When you are ready to cook the refrigerated lasagna allow it to sit out at room temperature for about an hour before cooking (if you don’t have time to do so, you may need to cook the lasagna a bit longer).
Adapted from: All Recipes