As you all may know, I am the self declared cook of my group of friends, and as the cook amongst our small friend group, it is my job to cook all of the celebration dinners. Where our celebrations were once considered only major holidays, my friends have decided that celebration dinners should be served on more days. My friends have come to create the term “Mini-Bration” and these take play after minor events: got an A+ on a chemistry midterm, broke up with an “bad news” girlfriend, landed an internship at Saturday Night Live.
Well, last Sunday my friends came to me and announced that we have yet another mini-bration to celebrate. Personally, I think they just want me to cook for them…..
They said that this mini-celebration was for nine of my friends who, after a month of hazing, were finally initiated into their fraternity. So I did what any other Italian young woman would have done when faced with having to cook for a lot of hungry men. I made pasta, lasagna to be exact. Lasagna is cost friendly (when you buy the cheese on sale), filling, and is always a crowd favorite.
- Lasagna Noodles
- 6 Cups Tomato Sauce (My recipe is in the following post)
- 2 lb Ground Beef
- 1 lb Ground Sausage (1 Part Sweet + 1 Part Spicy)
- 4 Cups Shredded Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese
- 4 Cups Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
- Preheat your oven to 400F
- Boil a large pot of lightly salted water and cook the lasagna noodles until they are al dente (please don’t try the throwing pasta onto the cabinet trick, trust we when I say that it does not work on lasagna noodles). Remove the noodles from the water and gently pat dry. We do not want wet lasagna noodles in our lasagna, that it why some people have watery lasagna!
- Take your ground beef and your ground sausages and place them in a large skillet. Cook on high heat, breaking up the pieces of meat with a spoon until the meat is fully cooked. Do not put any oil in the pan, the fat from the meat will render and that is where you will get your fat from. When the meat is cook, drain the oil and put the the meat aside.
- Now it is time for layering! Get your large casserole dish (usually a 9 x 13) and follow these layers. You will repeat these layers until they reach the tip of the casserole dish, they you will always add one more layer of pasta, one more layer of sauce, and yes, one more layer of mozzarella cheese.
- Layers: Sauce-Noodle-Ground Beef/Sausage-Ricotta Cheese-Mozzarella Cheese.
- Cover your assembled lasagna with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for 35- 45 min.
- After you see that the top layer of cheese is melted, remove the aluminum foil and let it cook for another 25 min.
- Once you remove the lasagna, let it sit for 5-10 minutes. This will help to keep it;s shape and not just “plop” onto the plate in one big mess of cheese, meat and pasta.