I'm proud of my Italian heritage. Almost everything I prepare starts with sauteing onions and garlic--a pretty good way to start any meal from the Italian perspective. Unfortunately, I had NEVER made a lasagna. Ok, that's kind of a lie. I've made Eggplant Lasagna and that was delish. But I've never attempted a classic meat lasagna. With my pastor's wife recovering from surgery, we thought this would be the perfect dish to bake and take to their family. Everyone loved it! This is a time-consuming meal, but it's not difficult and it's totally worth the effort!
Classic Meat Lasagna
12 lasagna noodles
1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage (or half and half)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1- 4oz can tomato sauce
1- 28 oz can whole tomatoes
15 oz ricotta cheese
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained/squeezed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add noodles and cook to al dente.
In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown the ground beef/sausage. Drain and rinse. Set aside. Wipe out the skillet, reheat over medium heat and drizzle with olive oil or canola oil. Saute onions and garlic until softened and fragrant. Stir in seasonings and cook a minute longer. Stir in meat, tomato sauce, and whole tomatoes (with their juices). Crush tomatoes with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Simmer 20-30 minutes.
In a medium bowl combine ricotta, spinach, parmesan, and egg.
Heat over to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 noodles. Spread a 1/3 of cheese mixture on top of noodles. Top cheese layer with sauce, then noodles, then cheese, ending with the sauce mixture and topping with mozzarella cheese. Baked for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly and heated throughout.