Lasagna is a classic Italian dish, which is made by layering broad pasta sheets with a spicy meat sauce and a creamy cheese filling. Lasagna is a sinfully indulgent dish as the layer of cheese, pasta and meat sauce simply melts into the mouth.
Three different kinds of cheese are used in this recipe, which takes the dish to a completely different level. Although the dish cannot be described as something quite healthy, you can definitely prepare it for special occasions like family parties and Christmas.
Difficulty level: Easy
Servings per recipe: 10-12
Time required for preparation: 10-15 minutes
Time required for cooking: 1 ½ hours
1 lb. of lasagna sheets
2 lbs. of ricotta cheese
16 oz. of fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
8 oz. of grated parmiggiano reggiano cheese
Salt, to taste
1/3rd teaspoon of cayenne pepper
6-8 fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
For the Sauce
1 lb. + ½ lb. of lean ground beef
6 cups + ½ cup of tomato puree
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ cup of water
1 lb. of Italian sausage
8 oz. mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cup of red dry wine
Handful of fresh basil leaves
A pinch of red pepper flakes
4-5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 13×10-inch lasagna dish
2 large pots
1 deep skillet
1 cooking spray
1 wire whisk
1 large mixing bowl
Method of Preparation
1. Take a large and deep skillet and grease it with 4-5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Place the skillet on the stove and light up the flame. Set the flame on medium and wait until the oil heats up. Once the oil starts forming ripples, add-in the chopped onions and sauté them for 4-5 minutes or until they turn translucent and soft.
Once the onions are sautéed, put the ground beef and the Italian sausages into the skillet. Break the meat chunks into very small pieces and then cook for 7-8 minutes or until the beef and the sausage are nicely browned and no longer remain pink.
2. While the meat is browning, take the mushrooms and cut off their stems. Then chop the mushroom caps roughly, so that you get small cubes. Once you have chopped the mushrooms, put them into the skillet and stir to mix everything nicely.
Season the mixture with salt, red pepper flakes and a pinch of black pepper and then stir the mixture once again to incorporate the seasonings in it. Once done, pour the dry red wine over the meat mixture and let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
3. Next, add the tomato puree and ½ cup of water to the mixture and stir to combine everything thoroughly. Now turn down the heat to medium low and let the sauce simmer for 3-4 hours or until the meat turns very tender. Add required amounts of water to the sauce as it simmers. While the sauce is cooking, take a large mixing bowl and crack open the two eggs.
Transfer the contents of the eggs into the bowl and then whisk them thoroughly with a wire whisk. Then add the cottage cheese, the mozzarella cheese slices and the grated parmiggiano reggiano cheese to the beaten eggs. Retain 1/4th cup of parmiggiano reggiano cheese and some mozzarella cheese slices for later use.
4. Follow that by adding the cayenne pepper, salt, fresh basil leaves and freshly ground black pepper to the cheese and egg mixture. Then stir all the added ingredients together to get a smooth mixture. Once the sauce turns a little thicker and the meat becomes very tender, add the chopped basil leaves to the sauce and simmer the sauce for 1 minute more. Once done, remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside.
5. Then take a pot and fill it halfway up with water. Place the pot on the stove and turn the knob to light up the flame. Set the flame on high and let the water come to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, add a pinch of salt to it and put the pasta sheets into the pot of boiling water.
Cook the pasta sheets for 4-5 minutes or until they are just pliable. Once done, drain the water from the pot by tipping the pasta sheets into a colander and then transfer them to a pot of cold water.
6. Once everything is ready, take a 13×10-inch lasagna dish and grease it nicely with some cooking spray. Then coat the bottom of the baking dish with 1/4th part of the meat sauce and spread it out to completely cover the base with it.
Once done, arrange the pasta sheets on top of the sauce layer by overlapping them a little bit. Once the entire pan is covered with 1/3rd of the pasta sheets, put ½ of the cheese filling on top of the pasta sheets and gently spread that out.
7. Next, repeat the same process of layering 1 more time, by starting with the meat sauce, followed by the pasta sheets and ending with the cheese filling. Once done, arrange another layer of meat sauce on top of the cheese filling and then top that with the remaining 1/3rd of the pasta sheets.
Put another layer of meat sauce on top of the pasta sheets and then sprinkle the retained mozzarella cheese slices and the remaining grated parmiggiano reggiano cheese on the top of the entire lasagna.
8. Once the lasagna is assembled, cover the lasagna dish loosely with an aluminum foil and then insert the dish into a 350 degrees Fahrenheit preheated oven to bake the lasagna for 30 minutes. Once the time elapses, take-off the foil cover and bake the lasagna uncovered for 30 minutes more or until the cheese at the top turns bubbly and golden brown in color.
Once perfectly baked, take out the lasagna from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before digging in. Once the time elapses, cut the lasagna into large squares and serve with the remaining meat sauce.