Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lasagna from Scratch - A Christmas Tradition at Our House

Lasagna from Scratch
Once you've tasted homemade lasagna and the multitude of savory spices and rich cheeses; not to mention the aroma of it baking in the oven, or the sight of it oozing from the pan - you know the difference between homemade and everything else. Every year during the Christmas holidays, at one of the dinner parties we have, this is the star attraction. I serve it with a Romaine salad tray buffet and that's it folks! Of course there's wine and for others iced tea. It's a change from the traditional holiday foods and always a hit. To me lasagna is a cold weather food and this recipe makes enough for a crowd of hungry people!
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound ground beef
3/4 – 1 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5-ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To assemble, spread 1-1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1-1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

A Salad Tray Buffet with Lemon Italian Dressing is the perfect accompaniment for the lasagna. I've served this several times and you can add whatever you like to your buffet such as red onion slices, artichokes, capers, etc.


TeenaBugg38 said...

back when I was single my b/f and i used to do this every year. Now with family I struggle to do the traditional spread every year and all of the stress and drama tht comes with may be time to change it up and do this once again :)

Joy Tilton said...

Will definitely be making.. our family thinks lasagna is required on Christmas Eve! Love the salad antipasto tray, you have the best entertaining recipes out there Libby!