Cooking for a picky eater takes an adjustment. Everyday cooking style must be explained and recipes that you adore have to be adapted or put on a shelf for when that picky eater isn’t eating with you. About half of what I like to eat, the picky eater in my household won’t eat (curries I’m looking at you, stroganoff you also are a no go), but other things that I enjoy can be adjusted so that we both can enjoy. Whether that is serving some things on the side (like mushrooms), pulling servings out before “finishing” a dish, or changing the ingredients, adjustments while not easy, can be made to make all parties satisfied. I’m thankful that my picky eater isn’t vegan.
In this recipe, I changed what I usually do for a lasagna the following ways:
1) I changed 1 pound of mild sausage and 1 pound of 85/15 ground beef to 1.75 pound ground beef
2) I removed the fennel
3) I used canned sauce instead of homemade (mostly to shorten time)
4) I upped the mozzarella cheese from ¾ cup to 1.5 cups
Please note that while this recipe is very easy to make, it does take time and has a lot of steps. If you layer it differently that listed below, that's fine it'll still be yummy. I recommend taking the full time to reduce the sauce with the beef. The flavor will pay out of this. If you wish to make this for dinner, I recommend this on a weekend or you will have a late dinner after work. This recipe takes approximately 2.5 hours to make as written, but the vast majority of that time is hands off.
* 1.75 pound 85% ground beef
* 1 yellow onion, minced
* 5 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
* 1 tbsp tomato paste
* 48 oz Classico tomato and basil
* ½ cup water
* 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
* 2 tsp kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 12 lasagna noodles
* 16 ounces ricotta cheese
* 1 egg
* 1.5 pound mozzarella cheese (shredded or sliced your choice)
* 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheeseDirections
1. In a stock pot or dutch oven (use one that is not cast iron here, unless your cast iron is coated in ceramic) bring 1 tbsp of olive oil to medium high heat. Add the onion reduce the heat to medium. Cook the onion, stirring infrequently for 6-7 minutes.
2. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute, then add the tomato paste. Break up the tomato paste so the onion become brick red. Cook for about 1-2 minutes.
3. Add beef and brown, breaking the beef down into a fine mince. Drain the fat at least once, preferably twice.
4. Once the meat is fully browned (no pink showing) add the tomato sauce. I listed the one I used in this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite. This recipe used two glass jars. I loosened the sauce that sticks to the jar with ¼ cup water per jar and added the watery sauce mixture of both jars to the pot. Salt and pepper the mixture. Add the Italian seasoning.
5. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot partially. The lid should be crooked and facing away from the kitchen to allow the steam to leave the pot and the sauce to reduce a bit. Cook the sauce for at least 20 minutes, preferably longer (about 40 minutes is ideal).
6. Remove the sauce from the pot and reserve in a large bowl. Rinse the pot out and add about 3-4 qts water. Salt the water with about 2 tsps salt (not in the ingredient list). Bring to a boil.
7. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375 F. My oven takes about 15 minutes to come up to temperature. Start your oven earlier if yours takes longer.
8. When the water boils add the first 6 noodles. Cook the noodles as directed (mine took 8 minutes). Meanwhile prepare the ricotta by placing the ricotta in a small bowl and adding the egg. Whip the mixture together until the egg is well incorporated.
9. Also assemble your ingredients in an easy fashion so that it makes putting together the lasagna a snap.
10. Place 1 cup of the beef mixture on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan and spread till smooth. Add the six cooked noodles to the pan so that they overlap well.
11. Bring the pot to a boiling and add the remaining six noodles. Cook the second batch as directed again.
12. Layer ½ of the ricotta mixture on the noodles in the pan, spreading so that the mixture is fairly smooth.
13. Add 1/3 of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta. Cover the mozzarella with about 1.5 cups of the beef mixture. Top the beef mixture with 1/2 of the parmesan.
14. Remove the second batch of cooked noodles from the pot and layer on top of the parmesan.
15. Add remainder of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. Add ½ of the remaining mozzarella and the remainder of the beef mixture. Cover with remaining mozzarella and the remaining parmesan.
16. Grease the inside of some foil and cover the lasagna. Bake for 25 minutes covered and then remove the foil and bake an additional 25 minutes.
17. Pull the lasagna and let rest about 15 minutes prior to cutting. This keeps the lasagna together when you cut. Don’t worry, it’ll stay plenty warm during the resting period.
18. Slice width wide into five strips and length wise into three strips. Makes about 15 servings (unless you have seconds). Serve with a small side salad and a slice of garlic bread if you wish. Leftovers of this are divine. Eat this for lunch with some fruit.
Serves 15 | Calories 504 | Fat 21.6 g | Saturated Fat 10.5 g | Cholesterol 105 mg | Sodium 955 mg | Potassium 69 mg | Carbs 37.6 g | Fiber 1.0 g | Sugars 4.2 g | Protein 39.9 g