Friday, April 24, 2015

The Best Lasagna

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
3/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 cans (6 oz. each) tomato paste
2 cans (6.5 oz. each) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. white sugar
1-1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided use
12 lasagna noodles
1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 lb. sliced mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided use

      Heat oven to 375ºF . 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 tbsp. salt, pepper, 2 tbsp. parsley.  Simmer, covered, about 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil.  Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water 8 - 10 minutes.  Drain noodles, rinse with cold water.  In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, 1/2 tsp. salt.  To assemble, spread 1-1/2 cups meat sauce in bottom of a 9x13" baking dish.  Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce.  Spread with 1/2 ricotta cheese mixture.  Top with a 1/3 mozzarella cheese slices.  Spoon 1-1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Repeat layers, top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.  Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure foil does not touch cheese.  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.  Cool 15 minutes b4 serving. 

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