Friday, January 10, 2014
This was a favorite dish my mom used to make when I was growing up. After sitting down with her as she made it to get the recipe, I enjoyed making for my own family. It became a favorite for them as well. Everyone raves over how delicious it is and I have never seen one with these ingredients.
So for my niece and nephew and three sons and their families...Mangia!
Serve with garlic bread and salad for a delicious meal!
Allow plenty of time to let the sauce and meats cook down.(3 hrs. at least)
Baking time, once assembled, is another hour.
2 T Olive oil (1 for sauce, 1 for noodle water)
3 lbs. chuck steak
3 lbs. pork loin ends or country ribs
1 lbs lamb loin end can take the place of 1 lb. of pork loin end (lamb adds flavor)
1 lg onion
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 T garlic salt
1 T Italian Seasoning
1 T crushed basil (dry)
1 T Oregano (dry)
3 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
3 small cans tomato paste
3 lbs. lasagna noodles (regular, not the no-cook kind)
3 lbs. of ricotta cheese (low-fat or regular)
2 lbs. mozzarella cheese, 1/4" sliced or shredded* (lowfat and low salt if you can get it)
*Don't buy shredded, it's coated with stuff to keep it from sticking together.
In a large saucepan add olive oil and heat to brown meats. Remove browned meats from pan and slightly brown the onions. Add garlic - cook 1-2 minutes, but don't burn. Stir constantly. Add back the meats and add tomatoes and tomato paste and all seasonings. Stir. Bring to boil and then simmer for three hours or until meat fall off the bones.
Remove meat from sauce to a large bowl and allow to cool.
In the meantime, start a large pot of water to cook the lasagna noodles.
In a separate bowl put in the ricotta cheese and stir in a small amount of sauce (no meat) to make a smooth consistency - Not too much! You don't want runny cheese. Set aside.
Remove the bones and fat from the meat and discard. Break up all the meats into small pieces (they should just pull apart) and put back in the bowl.
Add the other tablespoon of olive oil to the water for the noodles. (You can add 1 tsp. of salt to the water if desired.) Bring water to a boil and add noodles one pound a time...Reduce heat to a slow boil. (Cook one pound then remove to colander carefully with tongs. Use the same water to cook the next pound and repeat.) This keeps the noodles from over-cooking and sticking together. As one pound cooks you can start assembling the lasagna.
As the noodles finish cooking and cool enough to handle, start to assemble the lasagna.
Use a large roasting pan or two 13" x 9" pans.
Add a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the pan to give the noodles a base to sit in.
Layer each item in the pan in this order:
Noodles, overlapping the sides a very small amount.
Meat - 1/2 the amount
Ricotta - 1/2 the amount
Mozzarella less than 1/2 as you need some for the top
Sauce divide for three layers
Repeat these layers
Top with noodles, cover with sauce and add mozzarella on top of the sauce.
Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray so cheese doesn't stick.
Carefully cover with aluminum foil but don't let the foil sit on the sauce or it will corrode!
Try to make a cover with the aluminum foil so it doesn't touch the cheese or the sauce and you will be golden!
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove foil and cook an additional 20 minutes.**
Let it set for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
(Good time to heat up some garlic bread!)
** For day ahead. You can cool and refrigerate overnight.
Reheat at 250 degrees for one hour.