Since I am from Jersey, you’d think I may have grown up making lasagna, however, my family is German and not Italian, so I’m not the classic Italian “Jersey Girl” like you see on the “Jersey Shore.” Still, I was always curious about making lasagna – what goes into it and is it worth it? Well, it certainly was. This was my first time making lasagna, and it certainly was the World’s Best out of restaurant lasagna, friend’s homemade and more! It was awesome! I also cut a bit of fat out by substituting a few ingredients with low-fat counterparts, and it was amazing. Freezing another batch of lasagna was also a great idea – lasagna is known to be better on the second day, or a few days after freezing and heating up. It certainly was true! Read on and you can make the World’s Best lasagna your first time too! It takes a bit of time, but it’s soooo worth it!!
Lower-fat substitutes (all other ingredients used to the “T”):
- Ronzoni pre-cooked lasagna noodles (for the lazy – like me!)
- Sorrento part-skim ricotta cheese
- 93% lean ground beef
- Sweet Italian-style chicken sausage
- Makes 12 servings (Fills about 2 Pyrex 8×8″ baking dishes)
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 (28 ounces) can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
- 2 (6.5 ounces) cans canned tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one-half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an extra 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.