So for my official “Night Before My Last Day Dinner Party” I decided to make lasagna for the coworkers I invited over to share in the feast. I had all of these people to impress so I knew I had to do something more than just thaw out a Stouffer’s lasagna (although Stouffer’s is delicious). So I found this recipe online HERE and tweaked it a bit to fit with what I had and how much time I had to do it in. Here is my tweaked recipe:
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage (I used Johnsonville)
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
- 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
- 2 tomatoes, sliced
- 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 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons dried parsley
- No-boil lasagna noodles (I used about 24)
- 32 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 12 slices provolone cheese
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large saute pan (one with high sides, you’re going to be adding a bunch of liquid to it), 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 4 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with eggs, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- To assemble, spread 1 ladle full of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with ricotta cheese mixture, and layer with sliced tomatoes. Top with sauce, and sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan. I eyeballed this, so just use what feels right. I topped it with a bit more meat sauce and then stacked the noodles on top. Repeat layers.
- Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Add 6 slices of provolone and cover with foil. I used non-stick foil with the non-stick side down toward the cheese to keep the cheese from sticking. You could do the same basic thing by spraying aluminum foil with some Pam or other non-stick spray.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. I noticed that the cheese was browning a bit too much around the 19 minute mark, so I took it out a bit early.
Needless to say, the lasagna was pretty ballin’. Everyone ate pretty much all of it. I made two casseroles full and only one little slice was left over. I laid out hors d’oeurves to accompany the lasagna, including buttery crescent rolls, meat balls and tomato sauce, and mini caprese salad bites (grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil on a toothpick).
Les brought salad and we all drank wine to go with it. We laughed and talked for like 3 hours. Probably the most fun I’ve had in a really long time. Plus the lasagna was delicious. Then I made chocolate chip biscotti for dessert. It was pretty decadent.
I’m pretty freaking awesome.