I am sharing our family’s traditional holiday recipe with you – lasgana! Now, I realize some of you traditionalists just gasped, and are tempted to skip this recipe. Wait! Don’t go! If you aren’t ready to start a new lasagna tradition for the holidays, then definitely save this recipe for a non-holiday meal. Trust me here – it’s just that good!
One other disclaimer – if you’re Italian, and like the traditional lasagna with lots of noodles, then you may not like my recipe. The noodles are just a delivery system for the meat sauce & cheese. And the smoked sausage gives it a different, smokey flavor.
Cast of characters (Ingredients):
1 lb ground beef
1 lb smoked sausage
2 jars spaghetti sauce (right – I also do NOT make my own sauce)
1 16 oz tub of ricotta cheese
1 huge block (16+ oz) of mozzarella or monterey jack cheese
1 box no-boil (oven ready) lasagna noodles (time saver!)
salt and pepper
Check your no-boil noodles for the oven temp recommendation. It’s typically 350 to 375 degrees. Go ahead and get it pre-heated.
Step 1: Get that ground beef browning in a pot. I start layering in my flavor here. I add some minced garlic (2 tsps or so = 2 cloves of garlic), plenty of salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, marjoram, rosemary & thyme).
Steps 2 & 3: While that cooks, slice up the smoked sausage and the mozzarella/monterey jack cheese:
Step 4: When the beef is browned, drain off excess grease. Then add a jar and half of spaghetti sauce, the smoked sausage, and a generous palm full of Italian seasoning.
Step 5: stir it all together and let it get happy for a few minutes at a simmer. (5ish minutes works. At this point all of the ingredients are cooked, plus it’s going in the oven so it’ll all heat through).
Step 6: Spoon off some sauce and put a thin layer in your pan. (note – I use a stone pan, so I coat it in a thin layer of canola oil in the pan first).
Step 7: Cover the noodles with ricotta cheese and fill the pan. (I spread the ricotta on the noodles just like buttering bread, then lay the noodles in the pan. Sometimes I use my fingertips to smooth it in there).
Step 8: Pour in half of the meat sauce, spread evenly. Then sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese (yes, I use the powdered stuff.)
Step 9: cover with cheese
Step 10: repeat layers (noodles, ricotta, sauce, Parmesan, and cheese).
If you are making this a day ahead, go ahead and cover it with foil, and put it in the fridge.
If you’re ready to bake, throw this baby in the oven, uncovered for about 45 minutes. I prefer uncovered b/c I like the brown bubbly cheese.
See what I mean??
If you can’t bring yourself to depart from traditional holiday items for your meals, don’t worry. Lasagna is great ANYTIME!