This is my attempt to document my lasagna recipe. I’ve made this lasagna so many time I can probably do it with my eyes closed. Like many of my recipes I don’t have exact measurements. I can’t cook following directions, it’s just not my style. I’m a firm believer in trial and error and, really, you can always make a recipe better along the way, so really there’s no error. It’s NEVER too late to fix a dish. Unless you’ve burned it beyond recognition. Don’t do that, OK?
I posted my spaghetti sauce recipe on the blog when my dad was visiting last September. I didn’t have ground beef that day so I used mushrooms but I don’t do that regularly. But you can! You can make it your own, this just a method really. One step I didn’t mention in the meat sauce post is that if you do use ground meat, remember to break it up into small pieces. A potato masher works great for that step.
Now, let’s say you’ve made my sauce, or your favorite sauce and you’re in the mood for lasagna. Enter my cheesy goodness.
- 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles (I use to partially boil regular lasagna noodles and then drain them, let them cool, make sure they don’t stick, blah blah. I will never go back to that again!)
- 1 14oz container Ricotta cheese
- 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese (I cheat and buy the kind in the little green shaker. You know what I’m talking about.)
- Handful of chopped parsley
- 1 small container Feta cheese, optional
- Black pepper, optional to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F. I’m also a big fan of making lasagna in a disposable aluminum dish but you’re welcome use whatever your heart desires. The less dishes I have to wash, the more I enjoy my meal ;). In a large bowl mix together the Ricotta, 2 cups of Mozzarella and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheeses. Add the chopped parsley and black pepper if that’s your thing. I don’t add pepper. Mix until all the cheese are incorporated and you can see beautiful little specks of green throughout the mixture.
Spray your desired pan with cooking spray to avoid any kind sticking. Add a little bit of sauce to the bottom of dish and put down your first layer of pasta sheets. I use a pan large enough for 3 sheets across. Also, don’t worry if the pasta sheets aren’t touching the dish on all sides. The sheets will expand as they cook, nothing to worry about there. If you were using partially boiled noodles, then yes, you would would have to cut the noodles according to the dish’s dimensions and cover every inch of the pan. Another reason I love no bake noodles!
So here’s your layering method from start to finish. Sauce – Noodles (3) – 1/3 cheese mixture (I spread the cheese carefully with the back of a tablespoon) – Sauce – repeat.
Do this until you have three gorgeous layers finishing off the top with the last 3 pasta sheets. On the top noodles pour the remainder of your sauce, the rest of the Mozzarella cheese first and then the Parmesan cheese. The Parmesan will create a delicious crust. On occasion I have added crumbled Feta cheese to the top for added texture and saltiness. If you love Feta cheese you should try it on lasagna, it’s delicious!
Once you’ve covered your lasagna with your yearly cheese limit (yeah, right, as if there’s such a thing! HA!) cover it with aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. When time’s up remove the foil and crank up the broiler to high. Keep a close eye on your masterpiece, cheese will burn quick! Once the top is a beautiful, bubbly, brown mess take it out of the oven and let it cool for about 20 minutes. This is a hard step but it’s necessary if you want your layers to stay together. The cooling time lets the cheeses set and will allow you to cut pretty slices of the goods.
MMMMMMMMMMMM. Pierre and I definitely can not finish a whole pan in a even a few sittings. Once I’ve allowed the lasagna to cool completely, usually after a night in the fridge, I will cut individial servings and put them in freezer Ziplock bags and store them for a quick go to meal. The lasagna will last in the freezer for 3-4 months. And the same goes with the sauce, it will last you a good 6 months in the freezer. These are two great recipes for anyone who needs to store food for a later date.
I hope you like it! I’m off to try and take a nap. I didn’t go to bed THIS MORNING until 4:45am and woke up at 8:30am. I’ve been having trouble sleeping since I found out I was pregnant. I find myself either uncomfortable, too hot, or just thinking and praying a lot. I actually had a mug of tea and a grilled cheese pita around 3:45am because I was starving, it had been 8 hours since I ate dinner! Don’t judge.