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Lasagna

Anybody have a kick-ass recipe for meat and cheese lasagna?
I've already got the ricotta, mozz and some ground beef. Now I need some suggestions on how to put it all together in the most yummy of ways.

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  1. Just out of curiosity, where do you live? My thermometer is hovering around 70 degrees F, and the humidity is up there, as well. Lasagne sounds unthinkable just now. In cooler months, I like to make lasagne with homemade, very thingly-rolled pasta. I make a tomato/beef mixture with lots of herbs. I skip the mozzarella and make a bechamel with lots of good Parm in it. I also let it cool for an hour before attempting to cut.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      I prefer the bechamel, too, and love thin home made noodles. Thanks for the great hint on letting it sit for an hour--I've found it runny when it comes out of the oven.

      1. re: pikawicca

        I'm with you on the bechamel. After making Hazan's green lasagne with homemade spinach noodles, bolognese sauce, bechamel and Parm, I'll never go back to the cheese-laden one.

      2. Ditto on besciamela. Depends where you're from in Italy. It is really hot here too, but lasagna goes down well everywhere.

        Alternative: Roasted veg lasagna topped with a very little and lighter besciamela.

        1 Reply
        1. re: itryalot

          there is an awesome lasagna recipe from tyler florence can't find it on the foodnetwork.com my husband loves it and thought it was the best!

        2. My husband made lasagna with shaved meatballs instead of ground beef. It was AMAZING!

          http://devouringdc.blogspot.com/2010/...

          2 Replies
            1. re: devouringdc

              We used to use slices sweet Italian sauce (the links were the base for our red sauce) and sliced meatballs (homemade). But now we crumble them instead. I would never use just straight ground beef, not enough flavor. I happen to have the meatball recipe here:

              http://melbostoast.blogspot.com/2009/...

              The sauce I'll have to look up at home though.

            2. This is the midwestern American lasagna I grew up with. Not authentic but comfort food.

              Meat sauce:
              I lb ground beef browned and drained.
              I onion diced add to beef and saute till soft.
              3 cloves of minced garlic in the pot.
              A good tsp of dried oregano and basil, I bay leaf.
              1 can tomato paste.
              I large can of whole or crushed tomatoes plus the water used to rinse can.
              Simmer this while the rest is getting prepped.

              I always have used the boil type noodle so boil them, but leave a little al dente.
              This is the only time other than pasta salad I rinse pasta... with cold water to stop the cooking.

              Ricotta mixture:
              1 carton ricotta, 1 egg, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, parsley if you have it - or spinach, 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Mix well.

              Sauce on bottom, then noodle, then sauce, next mozz, noodle, ricotta, noodle sauce mozz etc. I usually have 2 or three layers of ricotta. Top is a noodle a little sauce and a lot of mozz. Bake 350 for 30 min covered uncover and bake till cheese starts to brown.

              More to type than I thought. I know this isn't Italian, but it is good esp when made by Mom!

              1. My one tip--and I know it sounds crazy--is to substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta. I've always thought ricotta was overrated, and cottage cheese provides a nice texture to go along with a certain visual appeal.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  Leave out that NASTY Ricotta Cheese. And the Cottage Cheese. It going to make your Lasagna Look Like a Yeast Infection gone very very wrong. Just use fresh Mozzarella, Whole Milk Mozzarella and good Parm Reggi. And 100% Meat Sauce. Layers Noodles then Meat and Cheese in 9x13 Pan and go to the top. Boil Noodles first and chuck in oven to warm/heat. Get some brown on it! Delicious.

                  Oh yea, Grease your pan first too!

                  1. re: HungryinBmore

                    Gotta respond to that one! Ricotta is not nasty -- it's delicious, IMO. But here's a little trick I use for the ricotta -- I mix it with grated pecorino, finely chopped parsley and eggs. Essentially what you are creating here is gnudi -- ravioli filling without the pasta covering it. And as far as the meat part goes, I make meatballs and simmer them in the tomato sauce. When it's time to assemble, I slice or crush them along with the sweet sausage that has been similarly cooked in the sauce. Usually, I will alternate layers --- one meat, one cheese. I make homemade pasta when I have time, and when I don't I either buy fresh sheets on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx or I use the regular old boxed kind. I never "grease" the pan, but rather ladle some sauce on the bottom of the pan before I start my first layer. It never sticks.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      I agree--good fresh ricotta is excellent. I had only been using bechamel for a while but then went back to the ricotta. Both are good and I go back and forth now. I love the idea of using meatballs instead of ground meat. I'll have to try that one. I'm thinking I can just put raw meatballs into the sauce, simmer until cooked and then let them fall apart naturally (is that what you were talking about?). I make home made noodles but also will use Barilla no boil when I'm in a hurry. Sometimes you just don't have all day to get dinner on the table.

                      1. re: chowser

                        +2 for good fresh ricotta! Way better than overprocessed cottage cheese that is too watery for my lasagne.

                        1. re: chowser

                          No, I do not put raw meatballs in the sauce, I always saute them first. I make my meatballs with ground beef, eggs, Romano, parsley, garlic and bread crumbs. I don't care for overly "seasoned" meat in lasagna with lots of herbs like oregano, etc. If you don't want to be bothered with that, you could always bake them on a rack. Barilla no boil is fine too when you are in a rush. The only problem I have with that is that it is impossible to cut them to size.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            A few years ago, someone here on CH suggested just putting the raw meatballs in the sauce as it simmered so I gave it a try. It was good but the meatballs fell apart. I think it might be perfect for this, though. I break the Barilla noodles to fit and overlap if necessary. You can't tell once it's been baked.

                        2. re: roxlet

                          add jfood to the ricotta bandwagon. it is a must have in his lasagnes

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I agree. I have been told that my ricotta is what "makes" the Lasagna. I add 2 eggs, S & P, Parsley, a little Parm... and a few grates of nutmeg. It really holds together during baking, creating a nice soft, cheesy layer of goodness. Looks beautiful when sliced, not "gloppy".

                            1. re: sedimental

                              I think ricotta or b├ęchamel are the only choices. Cottage cheese and the other imposters are pure blasphemy