Tuesday, May 20, 2014

World's Best Lasagna

I came across this recipe on allrecipes.com. With a five star rating from over eight thousand reviewers, I figured it would be worth trying. I was right!

The original recipe can be found here: World's Best Lasagna

I followed the recipe pretty closely, making a few minor changes here and there. 

For my lasagna I used the following:

 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
 3/4 pound ground beef (80/20)
 1/2 cup minced onion
 3 cloves garlic, crushed
 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
 2 (8 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
 1/2 cup water
 2 tablespoons white sugar
 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
 1 tablespoon sea salt
 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
 12 lasagna noodles
 16 ounces ricotta cheese
 1 egg
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
 3/4 cup grated Parmesan & Romano cheese

The recipe calls for you to brown the meat in a dutch oven and then add the tomato sauces and other ingredients to the same pot. Instead, I browned the meat in a frying pan and then transferred to a large pot. I didn't want to include all of the fat from the meat mixture, so this allowed me the opportunity to drain the grease before adding the final ingredients.

So I added the tomatoes - crushed, sauce, and paste - and 1/2 cup water to a 6-quart pot, and then added the cooked and strained meat mixture. I turned the heat to medium.

While the sauce was warming up, I prepared the remaining ingredients. 

The recipe calls for dried basil but I used fresh basil leaves from the garden. I chopped both the basil and the parsley by grabbing a small chunk of leaves, twisting gently, and slicing into thin strips. Then I chopped the strips into smaller pieces and repeated as necessary until I had the right amount.

I added all remaining ingredients to the meat sauce and brought the heat down a little. I covered the sauce as directed and let simmer for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally. 

This is one of my favorite parts about cooking lasagna - there is so much down time you can get lots of other things done around the house! I cleaned the dishes I had made, did a load of laundry, and wrote a blog entry all while the sauce was cooking. Talk about productivity!

So after about an hour and a half, I removed the meat sauce from the heat entirely and set aside. I boiled water with a dash of salt and a splash of olive oil. Once boiling I added the noodles and cooked for 8-10 minutes. When they were done to my satisfaction, I immediately drained the water from the pot and ran cold water over them as directed.

Now we are finally ready for the fun part - layering the lasagna! Make sure to preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

I added each layer according to the recipe; starting with meat sauce, then noodles, then half the ricotta mixture. 

I added 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese slices, which I unintentionally broke into pieces when dividing my slices. Then I added more meat sauce and a thin layer of Parmesan & Romano cheese.

I repeated the layers as directed and topped with a final layer Parmesan & Romano and mozzarella cheeses.

I covered the dish with non-stick aluminum foil and baked in the oven for 30 minutes. After letting sit for about 15 minutes, we dove right in. 

I have to say - this is by far the best lasagna I have ever made. 

Thanks jonchandler!

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