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LASAGNA

This recipe will make at least 2 pans (size 14X10 1/4X3 1/4) of Lasagna


It will take at least 1 & 1/2 days of time to prepare the Lasagna recipe, if you do not have the necessary Tomato Sauce and meat prepared.

After reading this recipe you may think that it's too much work to make Lasagna.  Trust me, (I'm sure you have heard this before) the extra effort you put forth will bring many raves and " thank you's" from your guests.

And maybe a couple of


Or a dozen roses!


You will need a lot of Tomato Sauce and meat for the Lasagna.  ( Before starting this recipe, you will need to make the meat first before starting the sauce.

I usually prepare the meat for the Lasagna the night before I make the Tomato Sauce.  (The process will make the next day not seem as long.)

For this first step you will need the following:

Before adding any ingredients to the meat

Mix together:
  • 3.5 lb. ground round
  • 3.5 lb. ground pork

Next:

  • Squeeze water from bread.
  • Tear bread into small pieces.
  • Add to meat mixture.
  • MIX THOROUGHLY.

Mix the following ingredients into the meat: (I recommend splitting these ingredients in half
and preparing the meatballs in two batches, as they are easier to handle).
  • 1/2 cup (+) parsley flakes
  • 1/2 cup (+) basil
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • 5 - 6 extra large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. granulated garlic powder

USE YOUR HANDS. DON'T BE SHY.

Next:

  • Place Crisco or light cooking oil (seasoned slightly with olive oil) in electric skillet.
  • Moisten clean hands with water.
  • Roll mixture in hands, making meatballs about twice the size of golf balls.
  • Brown the pork chops and the meat balls on all sides.
  • Drain meatballs on paper towels.

You are now ready to make the Tomato Sauce - which can be started the next morning.

Use a 20 quart pot. If you don't have one - mix theTomato sauce in the biggest pot you have then transfer part of the sauce to another pot. You could use 2 - 12 quart pots.

I also use Hunts Tomato Sauce and Paste when I am cooking

  • Open: 14 (15 oz) cans of Tomato Sauce
  • 3 (12 oz) cans of Tomato Paste
  • Coat bottom of large (20 quart) pot generously (1/4 cup) with olive oil.
  • Crush and chop 5 cloves of garlic and add to oil.
  • Brown garlic.

Mixing The Sauce

  • Allow oil to cool.
  • Add tomato sauce and tomato paste to garlic and oil.
  • Fill each tomato sauce and tomato paste can 3/4 full with water.
  • Add this water to the sauce.
  • Add 25-30 oz of Chianti or a fairly good red wine  (fill one or two tomato sauce can with Chianti)

Before adding the spices - place the pot of the stove and turn the heat up to med-high.

As the sauce heats up - stir frequently until the tomato paste dissolves.  (Once the paste has blended into the tomato sauce then add the spices

  • Add the following spices, rubbing them in your palm to release their fragrance:
    • 1/4 c. oregano
    • 1/4 c. rosemary
    • 1/4 c. basil
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 1/4 tsp (+) red pepper flakes

Cooking Instructions

Add the meatballs and pork to the sauce. After about 3 hours remove the pork chops and eat them because we will not use them in the Lasagna.

  • Cook at medium heat until mixture is hot.
  • Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally.  Allow to cook for atleast five to six hours - with all the meat in it.
  • Do not remove from the heat until the air bubbles leave a "moon crater" on the top of the sauce.

After cooking the Tomato Sauce and meat, I usually put them in two large containers and store them in the refregerator overnight and start making the Lasagna the next morning.


Well, lets get started

Cook The Noodles

  • Boil 2 pounds of Lasagna noodles until they are almost done for each pan of Lasagna you plan to do. DON'T over cook!
  • Rinse in cold water and leave enough water in the pot to keep them covered.

Ricotta Cheese

While the noodles are cooking mix together the following amount of ricotta cheese per pan of lasagna ( you can use some mascapone cheese in place of 8oz of ricotta:

  • 3.5 pounds of ricotta cheese
  • cup of parsley flakes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • approx. 3/4 c. milk
  • approx. 2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • You will at least 10 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese for the full recipe.

Tomato Sauce

  • Heat up the sauce and the meatballs (warm - not hot)
  • Take 7 -8 meatballs out of the sauce and crush them in a bowl

Layer the lasagna

  • Place a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of deep lasagna pan
  • Step 2 --Lay lasagna noodles on top of tomato sauce (slightly overlap the edges of the lasagna noodles in the pan)
  • Add a thin layer of tomato sauce on the noodles.  NOT TOO MUCH - we don't want to make it soupie!
  • With your hands make a layer of crushed meatball on the noodles
  • Place several large spoon fulls of ricotta cheese on the above ingredients. Use a large fork to spread the ricotta over the meat.
  • do not add any salt (not necessary, due to high salt content of Parmesan cheese and tomatoes)
  • Shake some pepper on the layer
  • Shake some Parmesan cheese on top of the ricotta
  • Cover the above with shredded mozzarella cheese and slices of mozzarella cheese (use fresh mozzarella cheese if you can find it)
  • Repeat these instructions - start by dabbing some tomato sauce on the above layer then go to step 2 above until reaching the top of the pan.
  • Cover the top of the pan with with lasagna noodles and mozzarella cheese slices
  • Place a thin layer of tomato sauce on top
  • Cover top of pan with foil.

Do not fill the pan to the top - try to leave about 1/2 inch of room for expansion of the lasagna.

If you are only cooking one pan of Lasagna - place the second pan in the freezer with foil on top.   It will store for at least 5 months

  • Cook at 375 degrees for approximately 1 hours.   Leave the foil on top.
  • Remove from the oven and let the Lasagna sit out until it cools and place in the refrigerator.  This will let the cheese set up and it will it easy to cut in wedges.
  • About 2 1/2 hours before you are ready for dinner, return the Lasagna to the oven and warm it up at 375 degrees.  It may take longer than 2 1/2 hour depending on how long it was in the refrigerator - check the lasagna after 2 hours. Test the center with a knife to make sure it is hot before you remove the foil
  • Remove foil when almost done to cook the top of the lasagna

This recipe serves at least 12 very hungry people.

The lasagna also freezes well and can be heated up for a meal later.

You will have 2 to 3 quarts of Tomato Sauce left. You can use some of it for your guest to put on their Lasagna and the rest will freeze to be use when you need sauce for Chicken or Eggplant Parmigiana.

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