So in honor of my current lasagna craving, and my October ambition in the kitchen, here’s the recipe in all its cheesy, noodle-y, tomato sauce-y glory.
Warning: This lasagna took a while to cook and was A LOT of work, so I don’t recommend this for a weekday dinner, unless you have a severe case of the unemployment boredoms like I do, in which case CARRY ON!
Adapted from Simply Recipes.
1 lb lean ground beef
½ medium sweet white onion, diced
½ large green bell pepper, seeds and veins removed, diced
½ lb dry lasagna noodles (requires 9 lasagna noodles – unbroken)
¼ cup sugar
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
½ 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
½ 6 oz can tomato paste
1 lb Ricotta cheese
1½ lb Mozzarella cheese (large flat square slices)
¾ lb freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Parsley diced (fresh flat leaf preferred)
1 garlic clove, minced
White wine vinegar
Directions for the sauce:
Brown lean ground beef in skillet until lightly browned and cooked through. Put a few layers of paper towels in large bowl. With slotted spoon remove browned beef from skillet draining off excess beef fat and put on top of blotting towels. After all the browned beef has been removed from the skillet, drain off and dispose of excess beef fat. Wipe skillet clean with paper towel. (If your ground beef is sufficiently lean, there won’t be any excess fat to drain.) Add diced green pepper and onion to skillet. Brown for a few minutes on medium high heat, add browned beef back to the skillet, lower the heat to low and continue to cook for 5 more minutes stirring frequently. Transfer browned beef, green pepper and onions to 3 quart pot. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, open stewed tomatoes and dice, then add. Add oregano, parsley, Italian Spice Mix to taste, probably 2 teaspoons of each. Add a pinch of garlic powder and a pinch of garlic salt, to taste. Add a dash of white wine vinegar. Add sugar a couple of teaspoons at a time, until desired level of sweetness, no more that ¼ cup of sugar. Stir and allow sauce to simmer 15-45 minutes to thicken. Stir frequently and be careful not to scorch the bottom. Remove from heat.
Putting it all together:
Cook 1 lb lasagna noodles in 6 quart pot per cooking directions on box. Stir often to prevent from sticking and be sure that water remains at a low boil during the entire cooking to prevent noodles from sticking. Drain in colander and place in a pan filled with cool water to keep the noodles from drying out and sticking together. Then in a dry lasagna pan, ladle one cup of sauce and spread along the bottom of the pan. Apply a layer of noodles 3 length wise, edges overlapping. Ladle sauce sparingly into center of the noodles. Apply a layer of mozzarella cheese slices on top of sauce. Place ricotta cheese dollops every 2 inches in center of noodles on top of mozzarella. Then sprinkle with a thin layer of grated parmesan. Repeat until you run out of room in the pan or ingredients! Sprinkle the top with grated mozzarella and parmesan. Tent lasagna pan with aluminum foil without letting the foil touch the noodles or sauce. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.