When I was growing up, our doors were always open for visitors to share a meal with us. I loved having people over for lunch or dinner on a regular basis. If there is a hospitality gene, then it runs thick in our family. I eventually married an Italian-and so this recipe for Authentic Lasagna is a staple at our house. The beauty of it is that it freezes well so it can be made in advance of serving it, and when you double the recipe, it’s perfect to take to someone who has recently fallen ill, delivered or adopted a child, or “just because”! Do me a favor, take this dish and make two, then invite a friend or a stranger to share it with you in your own home or as a special delivery! Sharing this Authentic Lasagna is a recipe for Authentic Living! Enjoy!
What You Will Need:
8 Ounces Ground Beef Round
8 Ounces Italian Sausage Links, Removed From Casings And Crumbled (I like to use half sweet Italian Sausage and half Spicy or Hot Italian Sausage)
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
6 Cups Marinara Sauce or 2 Jars (26 ounces each) Marinara Sauce (I like to use Classico Traditional Sweet Basil and Trader Joe’s Brand Marinara and mix the 2 sauces together)
8 Ounces Ricotta Cheese
8 Ounces Cream Cheese At Room Temperature
1 Cup (2 ounces) Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Package (8 ounces; 12 sheets) “No-Boil” Lasagna Noodles
1 Cup Lightly Packed Fresh Basil Leaves, Torn Into Small Pieces
2 Cups (8 ounces) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (shred it fresh instead of pre-shredded cheese in a package)
Putting It All Together:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine the ground beef and sausage in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season with the kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. It will take about 8-10 minutes to brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the pan and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the marinara sauce and stir to combine. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Add the remaining pepper and then set it aside.
Cover the bottom of the prepared baking dish with 1 cup of the meat sauce, then layer 3 sheets on the uncooked lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Spread 1 ½ cups of the meat sauce evenly on top. Add half of the cheese mixture by spoonfuls evenly over the meat sauce and then scatter half of the basil leaves on top. Top with a layer of the lasagna noodles, 1 ½ cups of the sauce, the remaining cheese mixture, and the remaining basil. Top with a layer of lasagna noodles, 1 ½ cups of the meat sauce, and a final layer of lasagna noodles. Spread the remaining meat sauce over the top, and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.
Take a piece of aluminum foil and spray one side with cooking spray before placing it on top of the lasagna to prevent the cheese from sticking to it. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 15-20 minutes more. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
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