3 c. of your favorite marinara style sauce (I like a Fra Diablo & combine it with sweet italian turkey sausage)
1 lb of meat (Check meat options below)
12 pieces of lasagna, cooked or the oven ready type
1 egg, lightly beaten
15 oz. ricotta cheese (any fat content you'd like)
4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese or if you're ambitious you can get a fresh ball of the cheese (you need about 1.5 lbs), freeze it & thin slice it, now you're turning this into a 2 day prep dish since the cheese will need to freeze overnight to be firm enough to slice paper thin & I am NOT RESPONSIBLE for sliced fingers)
1/3 c. chopped fresh italian parsley
2 medium or 1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano (neither this or the basil are necessary if you use italian sausage instead of plain meat)
1/2 c. shredded pecorino romano (please not the stuff in the green tube)
Preheat oven to 350
Take the ricotta out of the refrigerator 1 hr before using so it comes to room temperature and is easier to spread.
Cook the pasta (if not using oven ready) according to the package directions, lay aside on sheets of foil or waxed paper so they don't stick together.
Cook meat until lightly browned, 1/2 way through add the onions so that they soften but do not brown. Depending on the fat content of your meat you might need to add oil to the pan.
Add the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes to blend. Take off the heat & put aside.
Mix together ricotta, 1/4 c. of romano, egg, parsley and other herbs (if using).
Put enough sauce in the bottom of the pan (a 9"x13" foil pan works fine) to cover.
Layer the ingredients in the following order:
- Pasta - 3 pieces (if you like extra pasta you can use 4 & overlap but then make 16 pieces to start
- 2/3 cup of cheese mixture
- 3/4 cup of meat sauce mixture
- 1 c. mozzarella or enought slices to cover
Repeat two more times
Now put on the last pieces of pasta, spread on the rest of the meat sauce, then the last cup of mozzarella and 1/4 c. of romano.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minute, remove foil and continue cooking for another 10 - 15 minutes until hot, bubbly & slightly browned.
Let stand at least 5 minute before serving to firm up otherwise when you cut it the meat & cheese will just run out from between the pasta layers.
Serves 10 - 12
This keeps very well in the freezer for up to 3 months, assemble it but do the baking right before you serve it. Be sure to let it come to room temperature before baking.Meat options
Store bought italian sausage either pork or turkey (if you use sweet I'd suggest a spicy sauce, if hot a more mild sauce)
Home made italian sausage (my favorite, I use ground turkey & Penzey's seasoning mix http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysitaliansausage.html, one suggestion, this really needs to be made up the day ahead to let the spices hydrate and mix in well with the meat, if you use it right after you mix it up it won't taste right)