Lasagna tends to be a touchy subject in our home.
Oh, don’t get me wrong – we all love it. A lot. It’s just that both Beloved and I have our tried and true recipes – his handed down from his mother, mine developed and honed over many years – and we each are convinced our own recipe is the best.
For the record, my recipe is better.
You see, I believe that a truly good lasagna is like a symphony, with all of the many parts blending together harmoniously, each ingredient complimenting and enhancing all of the others. My lasagna is a concerto of firm pasta, savory beef, subtle seasonings, tender vegetables and four different cheeses.
Beloved’s family lasagna recipe tastes like tomatoes and sausage. It’s not their fault – they’re from Ohio, where every dish tastes like tomatoes and sausage.
Anyhoo, since my recipe is the better one, it’s the one you’re getting. Waltz with it.
serves 8 generously
2 pounds lean ground beef
Salt and pepper to taste
2 standard size cans tomato sauce
1 – 4 oz. can tomato paste
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small container small curd cottage cheese
1 small container full-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (NOT the stuff in the can)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 lb. box lasagna noodles
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Prepare the lasagna noodles according to package directions until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water until they’re cool and no longer sticking together. Lay them out in a single layer on waxed paper or foil.
Brown ground beef with the mushrooms, onion, garlic and bell pepper over high heat. Drain if necessary; salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, basil and thyme; reduce heat to a simmer.
While the beef mixture is simmering, combine the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, parmesan, egg and parsley in a medium sized mixing bowl; mix well.
In a large (9 x 13) baking dish, place a single layer of noodles and spread 1/2 of the cheese mixture, followed by another layer of noodles. Top with 1/2 of the meat sauce, then 1/2 of the mozzarella. Repeat, laying another layer of noodles, followed by the other half of the cheese mixture, a layer of noodles, and the remaining meat sauce and mozzarella.
Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese on top is melted and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 – 15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.