During the busy winter days leading up to Christmas I like to make hearty, warm comfort food meals – especially the kind you can prep on the weekend, and then throw in the oven for an hour later in the week. Makes my life a lot easier after a crazy workday.
Lasagna is one of my favorite casseroles to make, despite that my husband doesn’t love it (not that he doesn’t love MY lasagna, he’s just not a fan in general because of the ricotta cheese – everyone has their idiosyncrasies, I know). This particular recipe, with bolder flavors and spices than normal, garnered a different response from him the other night, “Wow, this is actually really good.” I’ll take it, because yes. It is really good.
Note: The mozzarella is a little burnt around the edges in my photo (okay, a lot) because I forgot to set the timer on the oven after putting it in. Totally unintentional, but oddly turned out quite good – like that cheese that gets charred around the edges of a French onion soup, which I think is arguably the best part of French onion soup. So, if you also make the mistake of over-baking by about 15 minutes, don’t worry! It will still be fine.
Hearty Beef Lasagna
[Print this recipe]
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 50 to 60 minutes
6 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 16-ounce container ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 large egg
2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jar marinara sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into the bottom of a 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Set aside.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil followed by the onions. Saute until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes, and then add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Add the ground beef, garlic salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon Italian herbs to the skillet, and cook until the ground beef has browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the beef mixture, and then add it back to the skillet along with 3/4 of the jar of sauce. Continue cooking over medium heat while you prepare the ricotta mixture.
In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, 1 tablespoon Italian herbs, 1 teaspoon parsley and salt.
Layer uncooked pasta on the bottom of the baking dish, followed by a layer of the meat mixture, and then a layer of the ricotta mixture, then a layer of Italian cheese blend. Repeat these layers once more, ending with a layer of pasta on top. Pour the remaining sauce over the layers, and then cover with mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges are slightly browned and bubbly. Serve with buttered crusty bread and a fresh salad.
If you have leftover meat sauce, save it for lunch another day with spaghetti.