March 11, 2011
Tonight I had dinner guests. I wanted to make something tasty and simple and thought lasagna would do the trick. I came across a recipe that claimed to be the “World’s Best Lasagna”. I thought the claim was quite ostentatious. What sold me on it was the fact that it had a five-star rating with well over 5,000 reviews. Not only did over 5,000 people feel that this was so good that they needed to come back to the site to review it with positive notes, but over 200,000 people saved the recipe in their online account for the site. That must be some darn good lasagna, right?
Calling for a can of crushed tomatoes, two cans of sauce, and two cans of paste, it appeared to have way too much tomato. I was hesitant to use that much, but given the raving reviews, I followed it. I’m glad I did. The sauce was thick, rich, and full of flavor. If you have some time and want to make an excellent lasagna, here is the recipe.
Lightly adapted from www.allrecipes.com–
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato paste
- 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 12 lasagna whole wheat noodles
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
1. In a dutch oven, brown sausage and beef.** Add onion and garlic until mixed well. Stir in all the tomatoes and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel, salt, peppers, and half of the parsley. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for an hour and a half.
2. Boil noodles in salted water. You will want them to still be a little crunchy as they will continue to cook in the oven. It took about 5-7 minutes for them to get to the right consistency for me. When they are cooked correctly, remove from water (strain) and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking any further.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
4. Make the filling. Mix ricotta, egg, salt, and the remaining parsley.
5. Assemble the lasagna. Start by coating a glass casserole dish with a couple scoops of sauce. Add a layer of noodles, then with the ricotta mix and top with shredded cheese. Repeat until fully assembled: sauce, noodle, ricotta, mozzerella. For the top layer, skip the ricotta step.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
7. Remove foil and let back, uncovered, for another 25 minutes.
Remove from oven when done. Let it cool a bit and enjoy. Yum.
*You don’t need to use whole wheat noodles. I did and they were great.
** Don’t worry if you don’t have a dutch oven, I’m sure it will work fine in a regular pot, but use a big one. I had never made sauce in a dutch oven before, but it worked really well since this was a slow cooked recipe.