The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~George Miller
What is the first thing you think about when someone mentions lasagna? Is it comfort food, cheesy, Italian, delicious, but too much trouble to make? I have gone my whole life believing this was a classic Italian dish. It’s on the menu at Olive Garden, so it must be, right?
I discovered about 5 minutes ago, the term ‘lasagna’ actually has a Greek origin. Italians use this word to refer to the serving dish in which it was made. Eventually, the meal took on the name of the dish. To make things even more confusing, one of the first lasagna recipes was featured in the first cookbook ever written in England. Therefore, some believe lasagna originated in the British Isles. Whew! That can all get pretty confusing. I think I’ll just stick with what I know: cooking.
I always believed that making lasagna was a difficult, all day process. Therefore, I have never attempted to make one from scratch. Stouffer’s was good enough for me. After talking to a few friends, I was assured it was not as difficult as I once thought. Especially with the invention of those wonderful noodles you don’t even have to pre-boil. I think with good ingredients and a good recipe, we can make this happen. Plus, everything’s better homemade, right J?
Once again I have, like a beacon in the night, been guided to a Paula Deen recipe from her episode Lovin’ in the Oven. Click here to view and print the full recipe. Lasagna Recipe One thing I noticed specifically about this recipe is that it calls for cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese. After a little more research, I discovered that this was not necessarily a Southern tradition, but a substitute. Years ago, cottage cheese was probably more accessible than ricotta. Even though ricotta can now be found in most grocery stores (even here in the Valley!), cottage cheese is still used. I’m going with it! It’s a little less expensive and whatever you have left will make a great snack on another day.
Let’s get started.
Step 1: Gather all your ingredients.
|Everything you will need!|
Step 2: Brown the ground beef, sausage, and garlic together. Drain off any fat once the meat is cooked through.
Step 3: Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, and oregano.
|Tada!! Homemade meat sauce.|
Step 5: Begin layering. Start by adding about 1/4 of the tomato sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish. Add a layer of no-boil noodles (be sure not to overlap). Spread 1/3 of cheese mixture on top of noodles. Top with 1/3 of mozzarella cheese.
|My own little slice of heaven!|
I was very surprised at how quick and easy it was to put this together. I did this the night before so my everyday girls and boys wouldn’t have to wait long. Remember when you take something out of the refrigerator to cook, it’s best to bring it to room temperature before putting it in the oven. Otherwise, it may take a little longer than expected to cook through. Mine ended up taking about 20 extra minutes.
Note!! I never learn my lesson. No matter how much I talk about it, I still have trouble reading a recipe all the way through before starting. The recipe clearly states to bake for 45 minutes, top with remaining cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes. Do you think I listened? Of course not. I was so proud of myself for getting this done the night before; I slapped that last layer of cheese on before I realized I was supposed to wait. Now what? Just treat this like you would a Stouffer’s. I placed a tented sheet of aluminum foil over the lasagna while it baked so the cheese wouldn’t burn. Then remove the foil for the last 15 minutes to allow the cheese to become brown and bubbly.
Tip: Once the cheese melted, I turned on the broiler to get it really brown and bubbly. Don’t walk away. This happens very fast!
This lasagna is definitely lovin’ in the oven! You can unquestionably taste the sausage, but it is not overpowering. I was so happy with the results that I plan to make enough to freeze next time. Or, split this recipe into 2 square pans and freeze one for a rainy day. Grazie Paula Deen for the wonderful recipe. It was delizioso! I will positively be adding it to my regular dinner rotation.
To continue reading about the history of lasagna, follow this link! http://www.populararticles.com/article175798.html