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I've been making lasagna for years and have been asked many times for the recipe. Unfortunately there isn't one, I'm one of those cooks who uses the basic recipe and then embellishes. But just for my friend Vicki down in Mexico, I'm attempting to put it in writing. Because many of these ingredients are not readily available in Mexico, I've added some suggested substitutions.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage (ground beef or pork sausage can be used if italian sausage is not available)
- 1 medium diced onion
- 1 diced green pepper
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce (or 4 cups of In Search of the Ultimate Spaghetti/Pizza/Pasta Sauce)
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil (1 teaspoon if using dry)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon mccormick spicy steak seasoning (omit if using spiced Italian sausage or you do not want it 'kicked up a notch')
- 12 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles, or
- 1 lb homemade fresh lasagna noodles (Perfect Egg Pasta)
- 1 egg
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese (in a pinch cottage cheese, with the excess milk drained off can be used, or make your own Recipe #34)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (In Mexico, asadero or chihuahua can be used)
- 1 1⁄2 cups parmesan cheese (Cotija, also called queso anejado can be used)
- Meat Sauce:.
- Sprinkle Italian sausage with steak seasoning (if desired).
- Brown sausage, onions, garlic and green peppers in olive oil.
- Do not over cook, just until meat is no longer pink.
- Drain any excess grease.
- Add spaghetti sauce, basil, oregano, salt, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thick.
- Cheese Filling:.
- In medium mixing bowl add ricotta cheese, egg and 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (save other 3/4 for layering).
- Mix by hand until smooth (mixture should be a little fluffy).
- Spray large baking dish with non-stick cooking oil.
- Spread 1/2 cup of sauce on bottom.
- Place noodles in single layer on top, breaking and piecing together to make fit in pan.
- Spread 1/3 of sauce evenly over noodles.
- Evenly spoon on 1/3 of parmesan mixture.
- Sprinkle with 1/3 mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of remaining parmesan.
- Place second layer of noodles and repeat sauce, parmesan mixture and cheese.
- Repeat again for final layer.
- Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid and bake additional 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.
I substituted the ricotta with strained cottage cheese and finally succeeded in making a lasagna as good as my mom's. It's a great, flavorful recipe even though I only put in half of the Italian sausage (I ran out). And I liked that the steak sauce brought out the meat without making the dish taste like steak sauce!
This is a lot like the way I've been making my lasagna for years too. The steak seasoning though was a nice twist.