I do jumping jacks…
I do squats….
I lift dumbells until my arms become lasagna noodles…..
Then I come home and make a delicious, meaty, cheesy lasagna.
This may seem counter productive, but I torture myself so I can have a slice of this yummy lasagna. I do however refrain from eating the entire pan. I think we all can agree that Italian food is one of the most comforting foods. In my opinion no meal gives you a bigger hug then a saucy, cheesy lasagna.
I have been wanting to make a lasagna for a while now and I have had the noodles sitting in my pantry for at least 2 months. I finally got around to it after enduring 2 tortuous weeks of fitness boot camp. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy being tortured 3 times a week at 5:30 am…..really I do.
No seriously…..I do. I feel great! No pain, no gain….right?
I cannot express how much I love a saucy, cheesy lasagna and this one did the trick. The original recipe called for carrots and brown sugar, but I thought that would give it a sweetness that I don’t usually associate with lasagna. I am all about savory and cheesy when it comes to lasagna.
I made this lasagna in a 9×9 pan because there are only two of us and I thought a 13×9 would be a little much. If you want to do a family size 13×9, I would use 15 noodles and double the sauce and cheese mixture. Also when baking the lasagna place a baking sheet under it because the sauce and cheese may bubble over.
Mmmmm cheesy, meaty, saucy….need I say more?
Three Cheese Lasagna (adapted from Bon Appetit – March 1997)
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces lean ground beef
- 6 ounces mild or spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
- 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbs dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
- 12 lasagna noodles (you will have to trim the noodles for 9×9 pan)
- 1 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped
- 1 large eggs
- 2 cups finely grated mozzarella
Heat oil in large heavy pot or saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until softened, about 12 minutes. Add beef and sausages to pan; sauté until cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; cover with cold water.
Combine ricotta and Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Mix in spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in egg.
Drain pasta and pat dry. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over bottom of 9×9-inch glass baking dish. Place 4 noodles over sauce, overlapping and trimming to fit. Spread half of ricotta-spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Sprinkle 1 cups mozzarella cheese evenly over ricotta-spinach mixture. Spoon half of the sauce over cheese, spreading with spatula to cover (sauce will be thick). Repeat layering with 4 noodles, remaining ricotta-spinach mixture, 1 cups mozzarella and sauce. Repeat and top off with extra shredded cheese and fresh basil. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.) Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna 40 minutes; uncover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.