It’s hard to compete with your mother-in-law’s cooking. Lasagna is a huge comfort food for my husband. His mother’s lasagna is a huge comfort food for my husband. I like my lasagna with a layer or ricotta/spinach and a rosé sauce rather than tomato. He does not. He goes Goldilocks on me whenever I make one. “This lasagna is too spinach-y!” Or “This lasagna isn’t tomato-y enough.” Well, it took many tries but, I’ve finally made a lasagna that’s “just right!” I sandwich a thin ricotta/spinach layer between TWO layers of meat, and I use rosé AND tomato sauce so it’s both creamy (the way I like it) and tomato-y (for him). What’s your vote? How do you like your lasagna?
1 package fresh lasagna noodles – On days I feel like super woman, I make my own. It’s that much more delicious!
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 cups spinach
3 cups shredded mozzarella or italian blend cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
Salt and pepper
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
1 handful fresh basil
1 recipe of Classic Marinara
1/4 recipe or 1 cup of Easy Bechamél
1. Heat oil over med-hi heat in a large sauté pan.
2. Brown the beef and pork with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and the crushed fennel, breaking up any lumps. Remove from heat, drain and cool.
3. In a bowl mix 1 cup of marinara with 1 cup of bechamél. Then add it to the meat and mix well..
4. In another pan over medium, heat a splash of oil and wilt down your spinach. Remove from heat and cool
5. In another bowl, mix the ricotta, eggs and spinach with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
6. Heat your oven to 375 F and butter a 9×13 baking dish.
7. Spoon 1/4 of the marinara on the bottom of the dish.
8. Arrange a layer of your fresh lasagna noodles on top of the sauce.
9. Spread half of your meat mixture over top of the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the shredded cheese.
10. Arrange another layer of noodles on top of the meat/cheese layer.
11. Spread the ricotta/spinach mix evenly on top of the noodles.
12. Arrange a third layer of noodles and top with the rest of the meat mix.
13. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining marinara on top of the meat and sprinkle with 1/2 of the shredded cheese.
14. Arrange the last of the noodles over top of the meat. Spoon 1/2 of the leftover marinara over top reserving about a cup. Tear and scatter your fresh basil over top pushing it slightly into the sauce (which I clearly forgot to do so, I scattered them on the very top) and top with the last of the shredded cheese. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
*Note – You can make your lasagna up to this point, cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator 1 day ahead.
15. I like to put my lasagna dish on a cookie sheet to catch any dripping cheese. Pop it in the oven for about 45 min.
16. After 45 min, turn the broiler on to brown the cheese for 1 min.
17. Take out your lasagna and let it rest and cool for 10-15 minutes.
18. Meanwhile, if you like your lasagna extra saucy and tomato-y, heat the last cup of marinara over med heat and spoon over each slice just before serving.
19. Mangia, mangia!
* No Italians were hurt in the making of this lasagna. Offended, most likely. But, no lasting damage.