Sunday, July 24, 2011

Bubbly Homemade Lasagna

Lasagna is so good. And this recipe is very easy. My mom taught me how to make lasagna and this recipe is essentially the same way she's been making it for years. It's what I make when I want comfort food, lunch the following day (or week!) or leftovers the following night. I've got this recipe down and can whip it up on a weeknight with the help of no-boil noodles. Or if I want a particularly noodle-y batch I'll spend a little more time to boil up those thick chewy lasagna noodles. Give this a try and tweak the cheese, amount of sauce, number of layers to your taste. It's very flexible and forgiving.

Here are my tips for building your lasagna:
  • When placing your next layer of noodles, rotate the direction of the noodles. It'll make for a more stable lasagna.
  • Break the no-boil noodles where needed in order to fully cover the pan. It's fine if a no boil noodle overlaps a bit, but work to have just one layer of noodles so that they cook through.
  • No boil noodles work because they absorb the moisture from the sauce in order to cook. So for this lasagna to turn out (especially your top layer) make sure that the noodles are covered in sauce. It doesn't have to be a lot of sauce though (unless you want it that way)!
  • No boil noodles require more sauce than the noodles you boil before assembling. The two jars of sauce should be more than plenty for a saucy 9x13 pan using no-boil noodles. You'll probably only need 1 jar if you boil noodles ahead.

The recipe below will make a saucy, cheesy 9x13 pan of lasagna or 8x8 pan with some leftover noodles, filling & cheese. About 3-4 layers is usually all that fits in my baking dishes. All measurements are approximate so eyeball the cheese in each layer adding more or less than you want. Just remember to save enough sauce for the top layer!

Ingredients:
  • 1 package of no-boil lasagna noodles (Barilla)
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (make sure to cut this in half if making an 8x8 pan)
  • 16z cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 2-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 6 slices provolone cheese, torn into pieces (or use shredded provolone)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prep the sauce: Brown ground beef in a pan, drain fat and add spaghetti sauce heating it through.
  3. Prep the cottage cheese: Combine cottage cheese, egg and Italian seasoning in a bowl stirring to combine.
  4. Begin layering the lasagna: In your baking dish spread a very thin layer of sauce on the bottom before adding any noodles. Add the no bake noodles on top of the sauce. On top of the noodles add a layer of sauce. Dot the layer of sauce with 4 (or so) heaping tablespoons of the cottage cheese mixture, spreading it out just a little bit (this isn't pretty. It doesn't have to cover the entire pan). Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella. Top mozzarella with one layer of torn provolone (about 2 slices worth). Sprinkle a little parmesan. Top with another layer of noodles and repeat the layering process described above. For your last layer cover the lasagna noodles evenly with sauce and top only with the mozzarella, provolone and parmesan. You will not need the cottage cheese here.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Check periodically to make sure the cheese isn't browning too quickly. If it is, cover with foil.
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