Recipe by Alan Leonetti
This is a recipe that I have been making for many decades, and everyone who has eaten my lasagna says that it is the BEST LASAGNA EVER!!! Try this recipe and I guarantee you will love it. You need a deep pan or a deep baking dish. If you have any questions, e-mail me: AlanLeonetti@q.com
Top Review by buckeye1953
This is delicious! The marinara sauce is some of the best I've ever eaten. During the simmering, the tomatoes lose their acidic bite, but the sauce isn't cloyingly sweet, either. Perfect balance! I was surprised to see that the same herbs and garlic are added to the sauce TWICE, but I absolutely understand why he recommends that. Adding them before simmering gives the sauce its complex, rich flavor, but the herbs then get so mingled that you can't really taste their individual components. However, adding another dose at the end of the simmering gives the basil, garlic, etc. their individual notes back again, without losing the complexity of the sauce. Fantastic, marvelous, exquisite!
I had no mushrooms or olives on hand, so I left those out. I don't think the lasagna suffered a bit, though. It's the marinara that deserves the blue ribbon here. I plan to make up several batches and freeze them in small containers to use on spaghetti, rotini, etc.
This makes an enormous amount of lasagna, so you could bake it in two pans and freeze one. We ate our leftovers the next night, and I swear the lasagna was even better then. I didn't think that could be possible!
One comment: the recipe says the total time will be 1 hour 45 minutes. I would allow an extra hour. I can't imagine how anyone could prep the noodles, onions, garlic, beef, and sausage in a couple of minutes, and the sauce really should simmer for more than an hour to give it that deep, rich flavor. Also-this makes a DEEP lasagna, so mine took about an hour to bake all the way through.
FOR THE LASAGNA
- 1 (1 lb) package lasagna noodle
- 3⁄4 lb ground beef
- 1⁄4 lb ground pork
- 1 lb Italian sausage (thinly sliced)
- 1 lb button mushroom (thinly sliced)
- 1 cup onion (chopped)
- 6 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 2 (15 ounce) containers ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 cup pitted ripe black olives (sliced)
- 1 lb mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
FOR MARINARA SAUCE by Alan Leonetti
- 2 (14 1/2 ounce) canshunts chunky crushed tomatoes
- 2 (6 ounce) cans hunts tomato paste
- 1 cup stewed tomatoes (Italian style)
- 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves (cut in halves)
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, in juice (from jar)
- 1 shallot (diced)
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 4 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Directions See How It's Made
- FOR THE LASAGNA: Prepare lasagna according to package directions.
- Drain and set aside. NOTE: You can use Barella No Boil Noodles, but be sure during the assembly of the layers that the noodles do not stick out.
- Cook Italian sausage either in a skillet or by boiling in a pot of water, thinly slice crosswise and set aside.
- Brown the ground beef and ground pork in a skillet, drain off and discard fat.
- Add onion and garlic to the ground meat, stir and cook another 5 minutes.
- Add the sugar, salt, basil, fennel seeds, pepper and the Marinara sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.
- While the above mixture is simmering, combine in a large bowl the eggs, Ricotta cheese, and parsley.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Take a 13 by 9 inch baking dish and spray the bottom with a non-stick spray, such as Pam.
- In the baking dish, spoon in a layer of 1/3 of the meat sauce.
- Then layer 1/3 of the lasagna pasta (overlapping each strip of pasta with the other).
- Then layer 1/3 of the Ricotta mixture.
- Then layer 1/3 of the sliced olives and 1/3 of the sliced Italian sausage.
- Then layer 1/3 of the sliced mushrooms.
- Then layer 1/3 of the Mozzarella and 1/3 of the Parmesan.
- Then continue to repeat the layering until all of the ingredients are layered.
- When the layering is completed, cover with aluminum foil, making certain that the foil is not touching the top of the lasagna, and bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake, uncovered, another 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit and rest 10 minutes before cutting.
- FOR THE MARINARA SAUCE (by Alan Leonetti): Empty Hunts chunky crushed tomatoes and Hunts tomato paste into the pot.
- Add the extra-virgin olive oil to the pot.
- Slice the cloves of garlic crosswise into either halves or thirds or pieces, and dump them into the pot.
- Dice the shallot, and dump that into the pot.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir to mix well with a large long handled wooden spoon.
- Do not strain, as the pulp adds to make this a thick and wonderful sauce.
- Cover and cook on medium heat, stirring every 10 minutes for about an hour or until it bubbles and is completely heated throughout.
- Reduce heat to simmer, and continue to simmer, stirring every 10 or 15 minutes to keep from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot for 1 or 2 hours.
- Remove from heat and give it one last stir.
- Serve over spaghetti, ravioli, pasta or use for chicken parmesan, veal parmesan, or anything that calls for a Marinara sauce.
- NOTE: Use only Hunts Chunky Crushed Tomatoes and Hunts Tomato Paste.