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Ready to Bake


Lasagna with marvelous marinara and homemade sausage with fresh cheeses.

The Sauce: Marinara Sauce – Rich, full flavored, home simmered for a couple hours until the flavors meld into irresistible pasta sauce.

‘Great Sauces Transform Good Food into Gourmet’ 

First bite

Angela’s poolside birthday party with our sixth grade friends was a blast. Songs of the Monkeys reverberated over the bedlam of a dozen or so girls dancing, chattering, and lip singing to their 1966 hits ‘The Monkeys’ and ‘Last Train to Clarksville’. Psychedelic flowered gift wrap pulled away from gifts drifted across the deck in the light California breeze. Various widths of red, yellow, purple and green ribbons took temporary flight into the shimmering water.

Baked LasagnaWith mitted hands, Angela’s Italian mom transported two bubbly Lasagna pans with melty cheese and fragrant spices to the redwood picnic table. She served tossed green salad, crusty garlic bread and sodas like Orange Crush, Coca-Cola, Squirt and A&W Root Beer to quench our thirst. One bite of lasagna, my first taste, and that was it. I was as crazy about it as teen rock groups of the day.

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I’ve made so many editions and versions of lasagna over the years, tweaking this, trying a dash of that, slowly making my way to this recipe. At first my goal was pure taste, enhancing and building flavors and textures. Then I reduced fat without sacrificing quality. Anyone can indulge from time to time without guilt. Do you have a lasagna making day? (see Notes section)

You might also enjoy Italian Bread Dipping Oil, Tuscan Tomato Trottole, Andrew’s Pizza, and Bramwell’s Spaghetti Sauce.

4 of 4 part series ”Marinara and Friends”. Part 1 Marinara Sauce and Part 3 Spaghetti and Mealballs. More on Marinara.

2013 AniversaRecipe – Irish Potato Mash
2012 AniversaRecipe – Ginger Lemon Scones
2011 AniversaRecipe – Beef Bourguignon Soup

Recipe: Lasagna

Active Time: __ Minutes | Total Time: __ Minutes | Yield: __ Servings

Layering Lasagna1 lb ground beef
1 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp salt
4 cups marinara
12 lasagna noodles
1 Tbsp salt
2 eggs
2 cups ricotta
3/4 cup Parmigiana-Reggiana cheese, divided
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 cups shredded mozzarella, about 1 lb

Special Equipment – large skillet, 9×13 baking dishes, large stock pot

1 Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Add ground fennel, crushed red pepper, salt and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain fat. Stir in marinara sauce. Take off the heat.

2 Meanwhile bring to boil 5-6 quarts of water Eggs and Cheesesand 1 tablespoon salt in a large stock pot. Add lasagna noodles and cook until they are softened but not quite al dente, about 5-6 minutes. Drain water and cover with cool water to prevent sticking.

3 Meanwhile lightly beat eggs in the bottom of a medium bowl. Add ricotta, 1/2 cup Parmigiana-Reggiana, parsley and black pepper.

4 In a 9×13 baking dish, place 1/2 cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan and spread around.

Layering Lasagna5 Line 4 lasagna noodles laid lengthwise with a little overlap over the sauce. Add a generous cup of meat sauce. Spoon on 1/3 of the ricotta mixture and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat the layers except lay the middle layer of noodles widthwise. Repeat the final layer with the noodles laid lengthwise. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiana-Reggiana on top and garnish the extra chopped parsley.

6 Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes until heated through and bubbly. Take the foil off during the last 15 minutes.

Noodles Opposite DirectionLasagna Making Day – I never make just one 9×13 at a time, always at least a couple since you’ll need every pot, pan and bowl at your disposal. Lately I make four or five and freeze them for parties, friends in need and Sunday dinners wishing they’ll last for at least six months. A few years ago I found five 9×13 pans at Good Will for dollar a piece so I don’t mind if the lot of them are in my freezer.

Lasagna can be assembled 2-3 days in advance. Cover with foil and refrigerate.

Lasagna can be frozen before baking for 4-6 months if sealed well with plastic and foil. Make sure to remove the plastic before baking. It can also be baked, cooled and frozen for reheating. Freeze the whole pan or cut in squares and freeze in individual servings.

Use Marinara Sauce or another marinara of your choice.

Once baked, you can allow the Lasagna to cool, cut in 12 squares and freeze in individual containers or freezer zipper bags. Defrost/reheat in the microwave.

Dish Designer

  • Use whole or low fat milk ricotta.
  • Exchange half ricotta for 1 cup crumbled tofu or use all tofu.
  • Exchange 1 tablespoon fresh parsley for 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley.

Inspiration – Helen Horton
Cook with Sauces
Written by
Photographs by Helen Horton
Updated: April 17, 2014

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2 Responses to Lasagna

  1. holly May 6, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    We ate this tonight. MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm…. Lasagna is a favorite for Joseph. The 3 Lasagna lovers in the family loved it. Thx for sharing. To accommodate the smaller-version Lasagna lover, I made one change to the Marinara sauce….I used V8 instead of tomatoes…boys love tomatoes raw, but not cooked. The Lasagna turned out totally fab.

    • helenhorton May 8, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

      I’ve never tried V8 in a marinara sauce. Do you use it because of the seasonings, because it completely smooth or because….?

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