Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Comforting Classic

Lasagna. We've all made it before. And, I'm pretty sure we all have a great recipe. You can make it a million different ways. I think the most important step, that should be included in every recipe, is letting the lasagna broil in the oven for a minute or two before you take it out. This is what makes the cheese brown & bubbly. It's the best part if you ask me. Enjoy :)

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground chuck
2 links mild italian sausage; casings removed
1 onion; diced
4 garlic cloves; minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning; plus 1/2 teaspoon for topping lasagna
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and squeezed of any excess liquid)
3 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan
kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter for dotting the top of the lasagna
No Boil Oven Ready Lasagna sheets

Sauce :

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk at room temp (I usually forget to bring it to room temp, so I just microwave for a few minutes)
1 1/2 cups of your fav tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 375

In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, again whisking the whole time. Continue to cook until sauce is thick and creamy. About 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and add the tomato sauce.

Next, in a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add the chuck and sausage, breaking up any large pieces. Season with the 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning and salt & pepper. Cook until browned. Add the minced garlic the last minute of cooking. Remove from heat and drain any excess fat.

In a bowl, mix together the ricotta and spinach. Season with salt & pepper.

In a 13x9 baking dish, spread 1/3 cup of the sauce on the bottom. Next add the pasta sheets, covering the sauce. Then spread all of the ricotta spinach mixture. Then, add another layer of lasagna noodles. Next, add all of the beef mixture and 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese. Spread another 1/3 cup of the sauce. Add the last layer of lasagna noodles and top with remaining sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and dot with butter. Lightly spray a piece of foil with nonstick spray and cover your lasagna. You do this so your cheese won't stick to it.

Cook for 40 minutes. Remove foil and turn the oven on broil. Broil until bubbly & browned. DO NOT leave the kitchen during this part. You will need to watch it the whole time to make sure it doesn't burn. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes.

* I put a cookie sheet, lined with foil, underneath my lasagna pan. because some of the sauce seems to escape everytime *

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