Monday, June 11, 2012

The Perfect Lasagna

Ok so this lasagna takes some work, and this picture leaves a lot to be desired.  I'll admit it...You really should let lasagna rest for 30 minutes after cooking before dishing it up so it looks pretty and stays in layers, but seriously, who can wait that long.  NOT my husband. 

Fortunately or unfortunately (however you want to approach it) this isn't one of those recipes where you just mix together some beef, some canned spaghetti sauce and layer away (not that those don't have their place in the kitchen.) This lasagna takes some TLC but it is sooooooo worth it.  I've been making the Pioneer Woman's lasagna for awhile now, and there are only a few things that I have changed based on what works best for us.  And let me tell comes out perfect EVERY TIME.  When I’m entertaining a large crowd and really want to wow, I pair this with my cheesy garlic bread.  Just really puts everything over the top!

makes 12 servings
2 lbs ground beef
1 lb hot breakfast sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans whole tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
2 Tbsp dried parsley
2 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
3 cups cottage cheese
2 whole eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 lb sliced mozzarella cheese
1 (10 oz.) package lasagna noodles

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet or saucepan, combine ground beef, sausage, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until browned. Drain half the fat; less if you’re feeling naughty. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil and salt. After adding the tomatoes, the sauce mixture should simmer for 45 minutes while you are working on the other steps.
3.  In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more tablespoons parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt. Stir together well. Set aside. Cook lasagna until “al dente” (not overly cooked).

To assemble:
1.  Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary.
2.  Spoon half the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Spread evenly. Cover cottage cheese with a layer of mozzarella cheese. Spoon a little less than half the meat/sauce mixture over the top.
3.  Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture. Sprinkle top generously with extra Parmesan.
4.  Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

*If baking from frozen, it will definitely take longer to bake.  Cover and bake at 350° for approximately 1 hour or until the center is bubbling.  Remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes to finish the top.

*I try to remember to set out my lasagna to thaw in the morning that way it isn’t frozen when I get home from work.  Cooking this lasagna after thawing it should only take about 45 minutes

Adapted from Pioneer Woman

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