Deep Dish Meaty Lasagna

Bites of meat and cheese in between layers of tender pasta topped with more ooey gooey cheese. Dig your fork in for a bite and be prepared for the involuntary mmmm..

Wyatt and I ended up hosting another cooking night since we haven’t had one in awhile.  Not sure how we ended up having a huge feast, but we did.  We had two 9″x13″ lasagnas between six people, one white and one red.  On top of that, we had cheesecake and brownies.

Lasagna is a horrible thing to cook when you’ve got hungry friends who show up and are ready to chow down immediately.  Why do I say so?  Well.. let me tell you that everyone in my group of friends run on his/her own separate clock. Each person is usually responsible for bringing a certain ingredient and if one is late, everyone must wait. It takes a while to make lasagna as every component needs to be cooked before assembling the lasagna together and popping it into the oven just to bake for another 45 minutes…. then cooling down before inhaling it in.

Although lasagna takes some time to make, it’s very simple and most of the time is waiting time.  To cut down cooking time, the sauce can be made the day before, which I recommend.  Using no-boil pasta can make it even simpler.  The hardest part is the layering, which isn’t even a difficult thing to do.

One serving of this will fill your belly just enough to have a sliver of dessert.

Although you can use no-boil pasta, I like to take the time to boil my pasta to the desired consistency.  I always prefer my pasta al dente so I stop cooking my lasagna noodles just before it reaches al dente.  That way, after baking the lasagna, the noodles are still slightly chewy.  Using the no-boil pasta, you don’t have control of that.  I also like to include a lot of pasta in my lasagna so boiling your own pasta beforehand can help with that.  When using no-boil pasta, you aren’t supposed to layer raw slices of pasta on top of one another as they may not cook completely during cooking.

I find that cooking the sauce beforehand is a lot more convenient than cooking everything at once.  Cooking the sauce beforehand also allows the flavors to mingle together, making the sauce tastier.

Sauce:

1 tbsp. oil

1 onion-diced

2 cloves garlic-minced

1 lb. ground sausage

2 lb. ground beef

2-15 oz. tomato sauce

1-15 oz. diced tomatoes

1-6 oz. tomato paste

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 Tbsp. dried basil

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. garlic powder

Lasagna:

1 box lasagna noodles

2 cups ricotta cheese

2 eggs

6 oz. grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. dried basil

1 bunch parsley

12 oz. mozarella cheese

Heat oil in a large pot.  Throw in onion and garlic.  When the onion is translucent, add the ground sausage and beef. Cook until the meat is browned.  Drain extra fat at the bottom of the pot.  Add the tomatoes and spices and stir.  Bring to a boil and stir.  Bring down to a simmer and simmer for about two hours.

 Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  When the water is at a rapid boil, throw a bunch of salt in along with the lasagna noodles.  When the noodles are al dente, take them out of the water and lightly coat them with some olive oil to prevent sticking.

When the sauce is done, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, add the ricotta, 2 eggs, 3 tbsp. chopped parsley, and parmesan cheese.  Mix well.  Set aside.

In a 9×13″ deep dish pan, put about 1/4 of the sauce onto the bottom of the dish.  Layer pasta noodles over the sauce then add some of the ricotta cheese mixture.  Spread the mixture evenly over the pasta.  Spoon sauce over the ricotta until covered then cover the sauce with cheese.  Repeat until there is no more sauce, ended the top layer with sauce then cheese.  Make sure nothing is past the rim of the dish.

Cover the pan with foil and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes.  During the last 10 minutes, take the foil off so the cheese on top can get bubbly and slightly brown.  Sprinkle some more parsley on top to make it look purdy.

Look at that cheeeese!!

Wyatt extremely tired after all of that cooking.  Happy and full!

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