I am not really sure anymore if Lasagna is actually an Italian dish or if it just something us American's invented as yet another conduit for pasta, cheese, and sauce. Whoever it was that can claim responsibility deserves some sort of recognition. I mean, besides pizza (which is my favorite AmerItalian food) what could be more fulfilling both nutritionally and soulfully than tender pasta layered with zesty and, just a little spicy, hearty tomato meat sauce, delicately held together with mild, melted, molten mozzarella cheese and all gently baked to warm soothing perfection until each ingredient joins together as one lusciously decadent meal!
1 small onion, small dice
½ pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large can crushed tomatoes
In a sauce pan, heat several tablespoons of olive oil and sauté onion until translucent. Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook along with the onions being certain to break apart the meat with a spatula. When sausage and beef are cooked through, add garlic, dried oregano, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Sauté for a minute or two before adding the crushed tomatoes, ½ can of water and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let sauce cook for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let set aside for use in the lasagna.
1 container ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 box Lasagna noodles, no cook
In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and egg. Stir well to combine. Set aside for use in the lasagna. In separate bowls, place mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and set aside for use in the lasagna.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In an 8x8 glass pan, spoon ½ cup lasagna sauce into the bottom of the pan to coat it evenly. Place 2 lasagna noodles, side by side, on top of the sauce. Smooth ½ of the lasagna filling over the sauce and sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Cover the mozzarella cheese with sauce and top with 2 lasagna noodles. Top the lasagna noodles with the remaining ricotta filling and cover with sauce. The final layer will begin with 2 lasagna noodles, then the remaining sauce, the second cup of mozzarella cheese and topped off with the Parmesan cheese.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 50-60 minutes. Remove foil and back an additional 5-10 minutes to allow the cheese to brown. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.