Lasagna Love

Ingredients

Meat Sauce

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 large bell pepper (red or yellow), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can good quality tomato sauce
  • 3 ounces (half a 6-oz can) tomato paste
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • Pinch of garlic powder and/or garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp to 1/4 cup sugar (to taste, optional)
  • Salt

Assembled Lasagna

  • 9 dry lasagna noodles (unbroken)
  • 15 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 24 oz Mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Put a large pot of salted water on the stovetop on high heat. While you wait for the water to come to a boil, prepare the sauce.
  2. In a medium sized pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium high heat.
  3. Add the garlic, diced bell pepper and onions to skillet.
  4. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the peppers softened.
  5. Add the ground beef and cook until it is lightly browned on all sides.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste to the pot.
  7. Add the parsley, oregano, and Italian seasonings, adjusting the amounts to taste.
  8. Sprinkle with garlic powder and/or garlic salt, to taste.
  9. Sprinkle with red or white wine vinegar.
  10. Stir in sugar, a tablespoon at a time, tasting after each addition, to taste. (The amount of sugar needed will vary, depending on how acidic the tomatoes are that you are using.)
  11. Add salt to taste (Note: You will be adding Parmesan later, which is salty).
  12. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer.  
  13. Cook for 15 to 45 minutes, stirring often. Scrape the bottom of the pot every so often so nothing sticks to the bottom and scorches.
  14. While the sauce is simmering, boil the lasagna noodles and stir often to prevent from sticking. Make sure that water remains at a full rolling boil during the entire cooking to prevent noodles from sticking.
  15. When ready, drain in a colander and rinse with cool water, gently separating any noodles that may be sticking together.
  16. Remove the sauce from the heat.
  17. Spread a little olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet, and lay out the cooked noodles on this sheet, turning them over so that they get coated with a little of the olive oil. This will prevent them from sticking together.
  18. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Assemble and Bake

  1. In a 9×13-inch casserole or lasagna dish, ladle a cup of sauce and spread it over the bottom of the dish.
  2. Arrange one layer of lasagna noodles lengthwise (about 3 long noodles, edge may overlap, depending on your pan) over the sauce.
  3. Ladle 1/3 of the remaining sauce over the noodles.
  4. Sprinkle a layer of 1/3 of the mozzarella on top of lasagna sauce.
  5. Add 1/2 of the ricotta cheese, by placing cheese dollops every couple inches.
  6. Sprinkle 1/2 the parmesan cheese evenly over the top of ricotta cheese.
  7. Apply second layer of noodles, top it with 1/2 of the remaining sauce.
  8. Add 1/2 of the remaining Mozzarella, and all of the remaining ricotta cheese and remaining Parmesan.
  9. Finish with another layer of noodles.
  10. Spread the remaining sauce over the top layer of noodles and sprinkle with the remaining Mozzarella cheese.
  11. Cover the lasagna pan with aluminum foil, tented slightly so it doesn’t touch the noodles or sauce (I use tooth picks for this).
  12. Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes.
  13. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes.
  14. Allow the lasagna to cool at least 15 before serving.