“Since hunger is the most primitive and permanent of human wants, men always want to eat, but since their wish not to be a mere animal is also profound, they have always attended with special care to the manners which conceal the fact that at the table we are animals feeding.” - John Erskine

26 January 2012

the best lasagna. ever.

I know I haven’t been blogging much lately.  In fact, I think pretty much every blog so far this year has said something of the sort.  It’s not that I haven’t been cooking.  I have.  But I keep forgetting to take pictures.  Life has been crazy/wonderful and we’re falling into familiar routines and I just haven’t remembered to pull out the camera.  (Sad, I know.  I need to at least be photo-documenting the growth of my little animals.)  Then I feel guilty using someone else’s pictures for my blogs.  However, this lasagna was so good I can’t just not blog about it, so I’m sucking up my ... pride? ... and posting with someone else’s pictures anyway.

Just for the record, my husband loves lasagna.  He always wants me to have those nauseating (I got sick after eating one once ~ the flu, not the food ~ and have associated nausea with them ever since) frozen lasagnas on hand, and they are handy, so long as you remember to take them out of the freezer a day ahead or plan on a 2 hour cooking time.  Which for me makes them not all that handy.  This recipe has the added bonus of being freezable, without the 2 hour cook time.

The Best Lasagna. Ever.
serves 12
1½ pound ground beef
1 pound hot breakfast sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) whole tomatoes
2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups lowfat cottage cheese
2 whole beaten eggs
½ cup grated (not shredded) parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound sliced mozzarella cheese
1 package (10 ounce) lasagna noodles

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add ½ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pasta water.

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.

In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, 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: Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a baking pan, overlapping if necessary.  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.  Repeat, ending with meat/sauce mixture.  Sprinkle top generously with extra parmesan.

Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350° oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

I don’t much like making lasagna ~ too many steps for me I think ~ but this one wasn’t all that bad.  Since the sauce has to simmer for 45 minutes, I do recommend waiting until you have that going before starting on the noodles, however.  And it was made of things I actually keep in the house, so I didn’t have to buy anything extra.  Except the parsley.  Boy does it call for a lot of parsley.  I, of course, didn’t use that much parsley.  Instead I used Chef TessRomantic Italian Dinner Seasoning.  Mmm.  Four tablespoons in the meat sauce instead of the basil and parsley.  Wow is that stuff good!  I did give in and use the parsley in the cheese sauce tho.  (I’m jealous of my Chef Tess spices and didn’t want to “waste” it all on one dish.  That’s A LOT of parsley!)  I ended up using a little more ground beef than was called for because I had a frozen bag with 1¾ pounds in it, but it seemed to be just right for my carnivores.  Although next time I think I’ll go with regular instead of spicy sausage.  Even my husband didn’t like the spiciness.

 As usual, I used Bella Colina instead of parm, diced tomatoes instead of whole (which I thought Middlest ~ my tomato-hater, would tolerate better), and grated mozzarella instead of slices.

Have to say, this is the one and only lasagna I’ve ever fed my family that everyone liked.  I think it may be due to the fact that there is no ricotta cheese in it.  Middlest and Littlest dont like ricotta much.  My husband rated it one of the best lasagnas he’s ever eaten.  Not THE best, but one of ‘em.  And for my lasagna connoisseur that’s saying something.

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