Lasagna is a quintessential comfort food which is always a crowd pleaser. If you've ever eaten one, you can probably make it. The basic recipe is a simple layering technique using noodles, sauce and cheese. A large pan can as easily be made as a small one, so making it in bulk to supply a weeks worth of lunches can save you time and money.
I often take liberties with my recipe substituting anything and everything from tortillas instead of noodles and bbq sauce instead of a marinara. However, to use up my frozen left over provolone cheese along with a jar of last fall's roasted marinara I have left in the pantry, I decided to make the "classic" version of this recipe, which is usually comprised of layers of lasagna noodles, a meaty tomato sauce, layers of melty cheese and a cottage cheese/ricotta layer mixed with egg which acts as the glue which holds the dish together.
Before you learn to run you learn to walk, so lets walk through this classic recipe so later we can adulterate it all we want!
for 9" x 12" pan, makes 12 - 16 servings
- 16 sheets of lasagna noodles
- 1 quart of marinara
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 16 oz. container of cottage cheese
- 2-3 large eggs
- 1 Tbs Italian seasonings -or- 1 tsp each dried thyme, oregano and basil
- 2 lbs of cheese (sliced or shredded)
- salt and pepper to taste
Season ground beef with a sprinkle (1/4-1/2 tsp) of salt and pepper.
Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium heat.
In a bowl, mix cottage cheese, Italian seasonings, and eggs. I also sometimes add Parmesan cheese into the mix if I have it around.
Bring a large pot of water with 1-2 Tbs of olive oil to boil. Boil lasagna noodles until they are slightly soft on the surface but still hard at the center. They should be flexible enough to bend but not tear easily. You want them not fully cooked because they will finish cooking while the lasagna bakes.
Drain boiled noodles. If you pour a small amount of olive oil on the noodles, this will help them from sticking together.
Mix ground beef together with marinara.
lasagna with slices of defrosted cheese.
Assemble your lasagna: In a 9" x 12" pan, layer the bottom of the pan with 4 sheets of noodles. Then layer with 1/3 of marinara and meat sauce and then with 1/3 of cottage cheese and egg mixture. Top with slices or sprinkles of 1/4 of the cheese. Place 4 more sheets of noodles on top and continue layering until three layers are complete. Top with your final 4 sheets of noodles and top with the last amount of cheese.
Place lasagna in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Place pan on a baking sheet while baking to collect any overflow if the lasagna bakes over. or until cheese is golden.