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Lasagna Recipe

With our Rich & Meaty Classic Lasagna Recipe you'll be able to feed a small crowd or at least your super hungry family!
Prep Time4 hrs
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time4 hrs 45 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 12 to 16 portions
Author: Tricia

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 red onions, finely diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian red wine
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes, peeled
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the meatballs and sausage:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 pound ground sirloin
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (links in casings) half sweet, half hot if desired

For the lasagna:

  • 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup fresh grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound mozzarella grated, divided
  • 20-24 lasagna noodles (see notes)

Instructions

To make the sauce:

  • Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large, heavy bottom sauce pot or Dutch oven, over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes or until the onions are wilted. Add the minced garlic and stir until fragrant. Season with pepper. Increase the heat to medium and add the wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is mostly reduced, about 20 minutes. Crust the tomatoes into the pot (by hand) along with any canned juice. Add the tomato paste, sugar, red pepper flakes and 2 cups of warm water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, uncovered, for 1 hour.

To make the meatballs and sausage:

  • While the sauce is simmering, prepare the meatballs. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, add the flour and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sirloin, cheese, eggs, parsley and garlic. Season lightly with salt and plenty of black pepper. Using your hands, mix all ingredients together until well blended. Shape into golf ball sized meatballs and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Roll the meatballs in the flour, shake off excess and add to the hot oil. You will need to do this in a few batches depending on the size of your skillet. Brown the meatballs on all sides, but do not cook through. Transfer the browned meatballs to the sauce.
  • Carefully wipe out the skillet with paper towels and brown the sausages over medium-high heat. Add the browned sausages to the sauce. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, uncovered, gently stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the meatballs and sausage from the sauce and set aside to cool slightly. Chop coarsely and set aside to use as a layer in the lasagna, do not return the meat to the sauce.

To make the cheese mixture:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, pecorino Romano, Parmesan, parsley and all but 1 cup of the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

To assemble:

  • When ready to assemble, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a lasagna pan or deep dish 13x9-inch pan with vegetable spray. Prepare the lasagna noodles according to package directions (see note below) and set aside. To assemble the lasagna, spoon a thick layer of sauce (without meat) into the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with a layer of noodles.
  • Spoon 1/4th of the remaining sauce on top, then sprinkle a third of the meat and a third of the cheese mixture in tablespoon sized dollops.
  • Repeat for 2 more layers, starting with a layer of noodles, 1/3 of the remaining sauce, 1/2 of the remaining meat and 1/2 of the remaining cheese.
  • Top with a layer of noodles, 1/2 the remaining sauce, the last of the meat and all the remaining cheese.
  • Top with one more layer of noodles and the remaining sauce. Sprinkled the reserved mozzarella evenly over the top. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until the lasagna is bubbly and heated through. To prevent over-browning, tent loosely with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking. Let lasagna stand for 15-20 minutes before serving. Pass fresh grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Notes

Seasoning - Take it easy when adding salt as the Romano and Parmesan cheeses are naturally salty as well as canned tomatoes. Check the sauce when done and season accordingly.
Assembling: Once assembled you will have 5 layers of sauce, 4 layers of noodles, 3 layers of meat and 3 layers of the ricotta mixture. Lasagna noodles - You can use no-boil, fresh or dried noodles. Be sure to follow the package directions to prepare the noodles. I use a dried noodle that requires par-boiling before adding to the casserole. I recommend soaking the no-boil noodles in hot water for a few minutes, then draining before use. Lasagna noodles come is various sizes. Estimate the number you will need based on 4 layers fit into a large, deep lasagna pan. The noodles can slightly overlap. If using a smaller 13x9-inch baking pan, you will probably need a second small casserole dish which is fine because it freezes well!
Make ahead - Each component can be made ahead and assembled on the day you want to serve. Store the sauce, chopped meat and cheese mixture in separate sealed containers until needed, up to 24 hours before baking. Also, feel free to assemble the entire casserole ahead of time and refrigerate covered until needed. Allow the lasagna to sit at room temperature about 1 hour before baking.
Adapted from the New York Times recipe by Regina Schrambling