Lasagna with Meat Sauce is a hearty homemade dinner that is the perfect comfort food, easy to make and it freezes beautifully too. Trifecta!
Ooey gooey and cheesy (Wasn’t I just saying this about enchiladas? There’s definitely a pattern here.) this hearty homemade lasagna is a perfect comfort food dinner that is easy to make and it freezes beautifully too. It takes a little bit longer than your average dinner, but it’s totally worth it especially on these cold winter nights.
I have to admit that I’ve never understood people who say that making lasagna is an all day long torturous affair. Maybe they’re making their own pasta? Maybe they’re slaughtering their own hog to make sausage?
The only thing I can guess is that they must be making a sauce that needs to simmer all day. Well I have a secret to share with you. Come closer. Lean in. It’s a dirty, dirty secret….
I don’t make my own sauce.
*GASP* HERETIC! HERESY! Oh wait, that’s redundant.
When we met, Terry was very attached to one kind of premade marinara and so since then I’ve never bothered to get too crazy with it when I’m cooking for us. Clients are another deal, they get whatever they want, of course. When it comes to the fam though, it’s one shortcut I happily make.
Our absolute favorite is Rao’s Marinara which is from the classic Italian restaurant in New York but is available just about everywhere from Kroger to Walmart to Amazon. It’s just got a great combination of rich olive oil, fresh tasting basil and a little bit of acid from the tomatoes. That may sound weird to say that something that’s acidic is tasty, but that’s why champagne goes great with almost all food, because it’s usually more acidic than other wines which cuts through rich food and makes for spectacular pairings. In the case of Rao’s Marinara, the acid of the tomatoes balances out the rich olive oil. This also, in combination with some great red wine, makes it possible to eat about a half loaf of garlic bread. Anything that helps justify more carbs is great in my book.
Recommended sides: garlic bread, green salad, sautéed zucchini or other green veg
Wine: red, something big to stand up to the deep flavors of the lasagna. Cab, Zin, Merlot are all good choices.
Feeling like a different pasta? Try:
Hearty Cheesy Lasagna with Meat Sauce
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound mild or hot Italian sausage I use chicken sausage
- 1 jar Rao's Marinara –or- about 32 oz your favorite sauce
- 15 oz 1 3/4 c ricotta, whole milk or part skim
- 2 1/2 oz grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese 1 1/4 c, 1 cup mixed in ricotta, 1/4 cup for topping
- 1/4 c finely chopped basil
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/2 t salt
- 16 oz 4 cups mozzarella, shredded
- Heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Be sure to salt the water. Drain.
- Meanwhile in a 12” skillet over medium high heat, sauté ground beef and sausage, breaking up meat until it’s cooked through.
- If baking lasagna immediately, add sauce to cooked meat, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until ready to assemble.
- Stir together ricotta, 1 ¼ c parm, basil, egg and salt.
- Grease/butter/spray a 9x13 baking dish. Spread a spoonful of sauce over the bottom of the pan.
- Lay three lasagna noodles down. Spread about half of the ricotta mixture over. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozz.
- Lay three lasagna noodles down. Spread about half of the sauce over.
- Top with three lasagna noodles. Spread the rest of the ricotta. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozz.
- Top with three lasagna noodles. Pour the rest of the sauce over. Sprinkle with remaining mozz and parm.
- Bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
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