Sunday, February 6, 2011

Home Made Lasagna

One of my favorite meals my mom cooked was her lasagna.  I remember growing up looking forward to Sunday dinner sitting down with the family and enjoying this wonderful dish.  Since I live so far away now I've had to learn how to make my own version.  Now it's not my moms, but I've made a few tweaks here and there, I think she'd be proud.  I don't want to toot my own horn but I must say it's pretty damn good! 

1 lb lean ground beef
3 14 oz cans chopped tomatoes
1 medium onion chopped
3 garlic cloves chopped
1-2 tbsp dried oregano
1-2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp of sugar
2 bay leaves
Handful of fresh basil
S+P
1 egg
250 grams (approx 8 oz) Ricotta cheese
500 grams (approx 4 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese

I like to make my own pasta so here is the basic recipe.  

In a large pot, heat a little EVOO and add the garlic and onion.  Cook for 2 minutes then add the ground beef and brown.  Drain if there is a lot of excess liquid.  Add the cans of chopped tomatoes, dried oregano, basil, sugar, bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.  Also add water to one of the cans filling it half way.  Swirl it around and pour into the other cans making sure to get all the tomato sauce.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 min stirring occasionally.  The longer it simmers will give more time to let all the flavors come out.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.


Preheat the oven to 375º

While the sauce is getting delicious it's time to roll out the dough into lasagna sheets.  Once the sheets have been cut to fit the pan, it is time build it.  I usually have about 5-6 layers of pasta, but you can have as much or as little as you like. 
Beat the egg in with the ricotta.  Place a couple spoonfuls of the sauce in the pan making sure it covers the bottom.  Place a layer of your uncooked lasagna sheets on top.  Add a bit of the ricotta and spread around, then add the mozzarella.


Add some more sauce to cover and then put some fresh basil on top.  Add more lasagna sheets and repeat until the pan is full.  On the last layer, I like to put just a little sauce on top so the pasta gets a little crunchy.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil so the oven doesn't get all messy. 
Bake for about 45-50 minutes, remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes.


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