We’re here. Right in the thick of summer. Its hotter than blazes out and I’d normally be serving a club salad or sending the King out to the grill, but I want nothing but comfort food. A little saucy, a little meaty, homemade comfort food. Which means Lasagna. All day. So on the hottest day of the summer, I was heating up my house with two burners on, along with the oven. My air conditioner ran for two hours straight. It was completely worth it.
Lets face it. I am a little late in the blogging game and lasagna has been done at least 1001 times now, so along with my mom’s lasagna recipe, I’ll give 3 tips so you can make sure your lasagna is perfect every time.
Don’t boil the noodles to Al Dente
That’s right. Don’t boil them PAST al dente either. Just under. The noodles will be a little under cooked, and that is okay. When the noodles are in the oven, surrounded by all the sauce, they’ll suck up some of the juices and turn come out perfectly cooked.
Be generous with everything, the layers, the sauce, the cheese. All of it. In some cases, less is more, but when it comes to lasagna more is more. If there are three layers or less, its a casserole. If its not oozing with sauce and cheese, its just noodles. Layer it up, and don’t hold back. The more the better!
Use the Right Cheese
I used to layer my lasagna with cheddar, just because I always had cheddar on hand. It worked out fine, but honestly, there are better cheese out there. I like to go with a mix of fresh Parmesan and mozzarella. It combats the acidity of the tomato sauce and compliments the sauce all at the same time.
- 6 lasagna noodles
- 3 cups mix of Parmesan cheese and Mozzarella cheese
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup onion
- 1 28 oz can Italian stewed tomatoes
- 2 cans tomato paste + 1 can water
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 1 TBPS butter
- 1 TBSP sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 24 oz cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- Boil noodles to just under al dente. Check package for time.
- In a large pan cook beef and onion and drain fat.
- Add stewed tomatoes and tomato paste. Using the tomato paste can, add one can of water. Mix until sauce is smooth.
- Add Italian seasoning, butter and sugar. (The butter and sugar will cut the acidity.) Salt and pepper to taste and let simmer about 10-15 minutes.
- While the red sauce is simmering, prepare white sauce. In a bowl add cottage cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Make sure the egg is completely incorporated.
- In a 13x9 pan add a heaping spoonful red sauce and spread it around. This will help the noddles from sticking.
- Add 3 noddles across the bottom of the pan.
- Add half of the red sauce on top of the noddles and spread out evenly.
- Add half the white sauce and spread out evenly over the red sauce.
- Add one cup of cheese over the white sauce.
- Repeat the layers and top with remaining two cups of cheese.
- Bake at 350 until the edges start to turn golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 40 minutes. You can cover with tin foil to make sure those noodles really soak in the sauces. Remove the tin foil half way through baking.
- Remove from the oven and let stand about 15-20 minutes before serving.