I have a theory that the more stained and beat-up the recipe card or cookbook page, the better the recipe must be. This is certainly the case with the card I wrote my mother’s lasagna recipe on. This lasagna has been a family favorite for years and is one of my go-to recipes whenever we have company or need to take a meal to someone.
The great thing about lasagna is that you can make it ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to bake it. When your guests arrive, just toss up a quick salad, toast some garlic bread and you’re ready to go!
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 12 oz. can tomato paste
1 T. sugar
1 ½ t. salt
½ t. oregano
½ t. thyme
½ t. red pepper
¼ t. garlic salt
1 bay leaf
1 pkg. lasagna noodles (14 pcs.)
1 16 oz. container Ricotta or cottage cheese
1 lb. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Brown beef and onion. Add tomatoes, paste and spices. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. If sauce seems too thick, add a little water to thin it. Spoon off fat and discard bay leaf.
While sauce is simmering, boil noodles just until softened. Drain well.
In a separate bowl, mix eggs and cottage cheese or Ricotta.
Layer in a 9 x 13” baking pan as follows: sauce, noodles, egg mixture, mozzarella. Repeat until you have 3-4 layers, ending with mozzarella on top. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes at 350° F. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes.
- If lasagna is frozen, keep it uncovered while baking.
- Some people prefer to use uncooked noodles. If you try this, make sure to add extra water to the sauce. You may need to add a little extra baking time as well.
- It is easy to substitute gluten-free noodles or dairy-free cheeses if any of your guests have special dietary needs—or make a smaller dish for them.
- Veggie lovers may want to add mushrooms, peppers, spinach or other veggies to the sauce.
Lisa Amstutz is a freelance writer and editor. She lives on a six-acre hobby farm with her husband, four children and small menagerie of farm animals. Lisa is co-author of Local Choices and author of ten nonfiction picture books.