Prep8 hrs 45 mins
Cook2 hrs 48 mins
The BEST lasagna I have ever made! Adapted from John Chandler's "World's Best Lasagna" on allrecipes.com. Many reviews said he had too much salt and sugar in his recipe (some reviewers said they were "obvious typos"). I also made some changes recommended by the Allrecipes Test Kitchen, and some by other reviewers of John's recipe. The anchovy paste and red pepper flakes were my idea. I used chuck roast which I trimmed and ground myself. This time I used Taylor Dry Sherry. I used Galbani Sorrento Original Ricotta Cheese (whole milk) and had no regrets, but if available, I would buy Calabro All Natural Whole Milk Ricotta. The saying is: "people who don't like ricotta cheese have never had good ricotta cheese." The Sorrento was rich and creamy, reminding me of mascarpone, not thin and watery, reminding me of yogurt or sour cream. Our dinner party concluded that this lasagna was not bland and the sauce did not seem "sweet" (but it was delightful). The 19-mo.-old had seconds.
SAUCE PREPARED DAY AHEAD
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
- 3⁄4 lb lean ground beef
- 1⁄2 cup onion, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2-1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional) or 1⁄2-1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- 12 ounces canned tomato paste
- 12 -15 ounces canned tomato sauce
- 1⁄2 cup dry red wine or 1⁄2 cup dry sherry or 1⁄2 cup dry vermouth or 1⁄2 cup dry white wine or 1⁄2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- cooking spray
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 32 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb sliced deli-style mozzarella cheese
- 3⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese (1/4 cup per layer)
- cooking spray, to prevent foil from sticking to lasagna
- In a large, heavy pot, cook sausage, ground beef until browned. Drain sausage and ground beef and reserve, leaving 2 tablespoons of fat in the pan. Cook onion over medium heat until well-browned (maybe 5 minutes?), but do not burn. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds (if garlic burns, it turns bitter).
- Add drained sausage and ground beef back to pan. Stir in anchovy paste, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and wine/sherry/water. Now stir in sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons roughly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (If you use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, give yourself a pat on the back.). (The simmering cooks the sauce down to a very thick consistency.).
- Let sauce cool, then refrigerate in a covered non-reactive dish overnight to let the flavors meld.
- Soak raw, hard noodles in a large roasting pan with VERY hot tap water for 20-30 minute (Noodles won't be cooked but soft, and can complete its cooking in the oven.).
- (Alternatively, you may instead bring a large pot of water to a boil, seasoned with kosher salt. Boil lasagna noodles for 8-10 minutes. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.).
- In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with eggs, 2 tablespoons parsley, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of the 9x13-inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce on top, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
- For second layer: spread 1 1/2 cups meat sauce, 6 noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 cups sauce, remaining half of mozzarella slices, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Tear off aluminum foil to cover pan. Spray foil with cooking spray.
- Bake for 25 minutes, covered with foil, at 375 degrees F.
- Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.
- Cool 15-20 minutes before serving.