Saturday, December 22, 2012

Ahhhh! Lasagna... Perfecto!

Lasagna.... well worth the effort!

Oh, how I apologize.  This picture does not do this recipe justice.  Yet another after-action shot. We dug into this so quickly I neglected to snap a "before" shot.  This entire pan did not last long. I think my husband had not just a second serving at dinner, but also "thirds".  When he got home from his graveyard shift this morning, he polished off the remainder for breakfast.  Lasagna... the breakfast of champions.

The source of this recipe?  The side of a box of lasagna noodles from Safeway (Town House brand is what they called it probably 16 or 17 years ago).  I have kept this chunk of cardboard with the recipe upon it for that many years and I brought it to the grocery store last week so I could buy the ingredients.  And I worried I had lost the recipe... but I found it (in my purse) and I made the lasagna yesterday and we were reminded how this is really the PERFECT lasagna recipe.  I guess with lasagna, it's all about proportions... ratio of sauce to noodles to cheese. Seriously, this recipe is perfect.  Homemade lasagna is always a bit of work but well worth the effort.  The recipe calls for a 9x13 pan but I make two smaller pans of lasanga in two 8x8 pans; one to eat and one to freeze.  Judging from how quickly we gobbled up pan #1, maybe I should have just made one big pan of lasagna.

Since I was so worried that I lost my copy of this recipe last week, I figured typing this up on my blog would be a good idea... would be a shame to lose such a great recipe.

Lasagna (from side of box on Safeway "Town House" brand lasagna noodles)

1 8-oz package lasagna noodles, uncooked
2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 12-ounce can tomato paste
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, cut up (undrained)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 egg, beaten
2 16-ounce containers ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon parsley flakes (I substituted a generous teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning)
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 1 pound)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used much less than 1 cup)

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain and rinse with cold water.  In large skillet, combine sausage, onion and garlic. (Note: I cooked the sausage first by itself and then cooked the onions and garlic separately... I always cook the onions until tender and then add in the garlic and cook it for just a minute or so... paranoid about burning the garlic!)  Cook until sausage is no longer pink, stirring occasionally; drain.  Stir in the next six ingredients; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  In a medium bowl, blend ricotta, egg, parsley, and salt.  Spread a thin layer of sauce in a 13x9 inch pan.  Layer one-third each: lasagna, sauce, ricotta mixture, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Cover. Bake in a 375 degree oven until hot and bubbly, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.  12 servings.

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