american-style lasagna

This isn’t authentic Italian lasagna.  It’s authentically Italian-American.  It’s meaty, cheesy, saucy, and good.  It’s lasagna like my mother and grandmother make — comfort food to the highest degree.  It’s also easy.  This could all be put together inside of an hour (and then baked for an hour).

  • 1 package Barilla no-boil lasagna sheets
  • 2 – 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes (I like Pomi brand)
  • 1 lb ground meat (beef, pork, lamb, sausage, etc. — any one of these or a mix)
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 – 16 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese, grated (about 4 cups if using pre-shredded)
  • handful of chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For the sauce (can be done ahead of time — up to two days):

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium until the oil begins to shimmer.
  2. Brown the meat until all the moisture has been driven away and is considerably brown.
  3. Add the garlic and stir until distributed.
  4. Add the tomatoes and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.  Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to lowest heat and allow to cook for about 30 minutes. Adjust salt to taste.
  6. Put aside. (If preparing ahead of time, cool to room temperature then store in the refrigerator.)

For the ricotta cheese filling:

  1. Mix ricotta, 3/4 lb mozzarella (about 3 cups), romano cheese, nutmeg, black pepper, and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. Put aside.

To assemble:

Click to enlarge.

Overlap sheets slightly when layering lasagna. The noodles will expand to the edges during cooking. Spread filling to edges to seal in and cook the lasagna during baking. Layer in the following order:

  1. Spread 1 cup sauce on bottom of baking pan.
  2. Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets, 1/3 of ricotta mixture, and  1 1/2 cups of meat sauce.
  3. Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets, 1/3 of ricotta mixture, and 1 1/2 cups sauce.
  4. Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets, the remaining ricotta mixture, and 1 cup of sauce.
  5. Layer 4 uncooked lasagna sheets, the remaining sauce,  and 1/4 lb (1 cup) of mozzarella.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake it:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Bake for 50 minutes.
  3. Remove foil.
  4. Bake 10 more minutes to brown cheese.
  5. Let lasagna rest/cool for about 10 minutes before serving.


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