My Favorite Lasagna
My Favorite Lasagna is really a family favorite. I’ve tried a lot of different lasagna recipes, especially earlier in our marriage, in order to find just the right one. Some were too saucy and fell apart easily. Others were just too expensive. Sometimes the combination of flavors didn’t cut it. But from the moment I put a forkful of this lasagna in my mouth, I knew it would become My Favorite Lasagna recipe.
About 15 years ago I found a lasagna recipe that had a nice kick to it. It used Italian sausage and Italian Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with diced chilies in the sauce. As the recipe is written it’s probably perfect for most. But I like a few more layers of noodles. I usually end up using an extra bottle of prepared spaghetti sauce and just put dabs of sauce and the ricotta cheese mixture in between each layer.
My husband and I were hosting a Christmas progressive dinner with our Sunday school class and this was brought by Darci Herr as part of the main course meals. It was FABULOUS! I loved the subtle, spicy taste. Darci made her lasagna with ground turkey, and I have tried mine that way a few times but I really prefer it with ground beef. Last night I made this again for company and I used a ground sirloin.
The wonderful thing about this recipe is you use REGULAR lasagna noodles, but you DON’T pre-cook them! That’s right. They cook while in the oven. And you don’t have to pay extra for the special kind of noodles you can do that with.
If you’re looking for a sensational lasagna recipe this one sure fits the bill. Give it a try and you’ll see why it’s our favorite.
When I initially posted this recipe in July 2012, I took very few pictures and those that I did take were blurry, grainy and not very appealing. I recently remade this recipe for my husband’s birthday when we visited his family during the holidays (December 2014), and I took new pictures and updated what I did in the recipe.
This is not a recipe that you have to slavishly follow. I stretch it out to feed however many I need to feed! My Favorite Lasagna makes enough to serve a crowd. So, if you’re not interested in leftovers for the office after you make it, then I recommend cutting it in half and bake in an 8×12″ or 9×13″ baking dish.
Make as many layers as you have ingredients for. I prefer more layers because it helps the lasagna set up better. Instead of putting half the cheese and half the filling on three layers of noodles, I usually just dab the cheese and sauce on about 5-7 layers of noodles. Do what works for you.
My Favorite Lasagna is something special. Darci’s recipe has only 3 layers, but I use a 16-oz. or 24-oz. box of lasagna which will make 6 layers with 4-6 noodles on each layer.
This lasagna recipe has a little zip from the Italian sausage and diced tomatoes with green chilies included.
Every bite of My Favorite Lasagna is mouthwatering.
Here’s what I did.
I used these ingredients.
For the ricotta cheese mixture: Place eggs, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
Stir ricotta mixture until well mixed. Set aside.
Sauté onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil, then add ground beef (sirloin) and Italian sausage. Cook until no longer pink, then drain.
I have a friend who uses a potato masher to chop ground beef into smaller, more uniform pieces when she cooks it. I usually just break the larger pieces up with my wooden spoon or a spatula.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients: spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, and Italian Ro-Tel tomatoes with diced chilies. We couldn’t find the Italian Ro-Tel yesterday (they used to make it and I’ve seen it at some of the larger, more expensive Wal-Marts & premium grocery stores here in the metroplex), so I added about a teaspoon each of oregano and basil. Probably more than you need to add, but we like flavor!
Allow the sauce to simmer on the stove about 10-15 minutes.
TIP OF THE DAY:
I recycle old spaghetti jars and use them when draining grease from meats. Grease is horrible to put down your disposal or sinks as it clogs the water lines for city sewage systems and wreaks havoc with a septic system.
Spray a 10×15″ baking dish with with cooking spray. Place a small layer of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. This will help prevent the noodles from sticking to the dish or scorching.
Top with a layer of dry, uncooked noodles.
Then dab with cheese.
Dab with more spaghetti sauce.
Repeat layers until you have six noodle layers. With my change to this recipe you will run out of sauce after the fifth layer. So you have two options. Add an extra jar of spaghetti sauce to the sauce ingredients while simmering, or pour the extra jar on top after the layers are finished. That is what I do as you can see in the picture above.
Rinse out any remaining tomato sauce in the jar and add it to the sides trying to cover the noodles completely so they will cook through better. The noodles will dry out otherwise.
Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top if desired.
Cover tightly with foil and bake 1 hour at 350.
Remove the foil, add the mozzarella cheese.
Bake an additional 10 more minutes, until cheese melts.
My Favorite Lasagna is a spectacular Italian treat you’re whole family will love.
I serve this lasagna for company and birthdays quite frequently.
Here’s the recipe.
MY FAVORITE LASAGNA
(Recipe adapted from Darci Herr, when we attended Southwest Baptist Church, DeSoto, TX)
- 1 lb. ground turkey (I use 93% lean ground beef)
- ½-1 lb. Italian sausage
- 2-3 24-oz. jars [url href=”http://www.prego.com/” target=”_blank” title=”prego”]Prego[/url] spaghetti sauce (Italian sausage is a nice flavor)
- Half of a large onion, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or 1 tsp. minced garlic from a jar
- 6-oz. can tomato paste
- 2 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided use
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground pepper
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 16-24-oz. [url href=”http://www.barilla.com/” target=”_blank” title=”barilla”]Barilla[/url] uncooked lasagna noodles
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 15-oz can Italian [url href=”http://www.ro-tel.com/” target=”_blank” title=”ro-tel”]Ro-Tel[/url] diced tomatoes with green chilies (this is hard to find, I usually use the regular diced tomatoes with green chilies)
- 32-oz. container [url href=”http://www.kraftbrands.com/pollyo/” target=”_blank” title=”polly-o”]Polly-O[/url] ricotta cheese
- 1 ½ cups water
- olive oil
- Sauté onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven, add turkey (ground beef) and sausage; drain.
- Add 2 jars spaghetti sauce, water, tomato paste, basil, oregano and Ro-Tel diced Italian tomatoes with juice.
- Simmer over low heat about 30 minutes.
- Mix ricotta, one-half mozzarella, 1 cup parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper in bowl.
- Layer 1 cup sauce in 9×13”sprayed pan.
- Arrange 3-4 dry noodles over sauce, spread dabs of cheese mixture over noodles, then 1 cup sauce and repeat layers ending with sauce on top.
- If the sauce doesn’t cover the top well, add the remaining jar of sauce.
- Sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
- Cover with foil.
- Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes at 350°.
- (Test noodles with a fork. If they are fork tender, they are cooked through).
- Remove foil.
- Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake 10-15 minutes longer.
Yummy! Having the extra kick of the Italian sausage and Ro-Tel tomatoes with diced chilies make this lasagna something special. I think you will prefer it, too.
My Favorite Lasagna, while a bit of work, has a tremendously great pay-off!
Everyone loves this lasagna.