World’s Best Lasagne

“Thank goodness, we can choose our friends. We have to take our relatives as they are, and be thankful…”L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

Recipe source: Allrecipes 

Original Recipe Yield 12 servings — Make this the day before serving it, as it gives a little more time for the different flavors to come together.  Also, double the sauce when you make this and freeze it for another use.

Ingredients        

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt (this might be a typo – 1 teaspoon at most)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg (use two eggs for a creamier filling)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  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 water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with 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 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Tips from a reviewer: Excellent and Authentic recipe! A little more work and ingredients, but well worth it. Use FRESH basil for more flavor – I use about 1/2 – 2/3 cup fresh chopped basil. It cooks down and is sooo aromatic. The mix of sausage and beef is sublime, so no need for more salt. I always add a dash of nutmeg to the ricotta mixture (an old italian secret!). I usually make this a day ahead for the flavors and herbs to meld in the fridge then let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before baking. Have made for company too, and always get RAVES on it’s authenticity. Great, winter comfort food and feeds a lot of people. Another tip for lasagna makers – no need to wash another pot to boil noodles. Soak raw, hard noodles in a large bowl of very hot tap water for 20-30 min. Noodles won’t be cooked but soft, and can complete it’s cooking in the oven. I learned this from a caterer – try it!

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