Sometimes you need to make those meals that yield a million servings so you can eat it all week. The week before the CD release concert we had for Jonah’s new album was absolutely one of those weeks.
We had a few guests staying with us, band practice almost every night, and I had work on the nights I wasn’t rehearsing. It was a busy time, to say the least. So the night of our Kickstarter team meeting, to discuss merch and social media, etc. I made this lasagna, so that we could eat it throughout the week. It was high up on the list of best lasagna I’ve ever made. What made it so good? The homemade sauce, the homemade noodles, and some absurd amounts of cheese.
I’ll admit, however, that this uses a lot of dishes, and has a fair amount of ingredients. But when you’ve got some time and you’re making a meal that will carry you through the week, it’s worth it. I like to think of it as an entire week’s worth of mess (and cleanup).
Cheesy Meat Lasagna
Note: I used a 13×9 inch baking dish, and filled it right up to the brim. I put a baking sheet underneath it to catch any overflow (which was minimal), but still, if you’ve got a slightly bigger baking dish, it might be a good idea to use it.
2 cups flour
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt, pepper, other Italian seasoning (parsley, basil, oregano, to your liking)
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 28 oz can crushed (or diced) San Marzano tomatoes (yes, these are expensive, but I found it to be terribly worth it, and they weren’t THAT MUCH more than the other brands)
3 cups ricotta
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
2-3 cups (preferably freshly) grated mozzarella
In the bowl of an electric mixer, or using a bowl and whisk, or a bowl and fork, mix up the eggs and flour into a dough. If it’s too wet, add more flour 1 tsp at a time. If it’s too dry, add water 1 tsp at a time. Dump the dough out onto floured surface, knead a few times, and wrap in plastic (or put in a bowl and cover with dishtowel) and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
In a large pot, heat 2 Tbl olive oil over medium heat, and add the onion and carrot. Cook until starting to soften. Add the garlic, beef, and Italian sausage, and cook until the meat has browned. Add 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp ground pepper, and whatever other spices you’d like (I did 1/2 tsp dried basil and 1/2 tsp dried parsley). Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes to the pot (no need to drain them!) and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low and cover, letting it simmer for ~30 minutes.
While your dough is resting and your sauce is simmering you can whip up the ricotta filling. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, eggs, pepper, and 1/2 cup of both the grated mozzarella and parmesan. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your lasagna.
Roll out your pasta into sheets for lasagna and set aside, covering so that the noodles don’t dry out. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and lightly coat your baking dish with oil. Spread ~1 cup sauce in the bottom of the dish. Here’s how you’re going to do this: noodles, ricotta, sauce, cheese. That’s your order. On top of the sauce in the bottom of the dish, arrange a layer of noodles; spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top, then 1 cup sauce, and sprinkle with cheese (a mixture of the mozzarella and parmesan). Do that twice (now we’ve got sauce, noodles, ricotta, sauce, cheese, noodles, ricotta, sauce, cheese), and in the next layer, leave out the cheese (so just noodles, ricotta, sauce). Put another layer of noodles on top, spread the rest of the sauce on top, and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Phew! If you don’t feel like following my layering instructions, just do whatever you want. It’ll probably work, and you’ve probably eaten enough lasagna in your life to figure out how it works.
Bake the lasagna for 30-40 minutes, rotating it half way through, until the cheese on top is melted and turning golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool/set for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!