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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Authentic Italian Lasagna ♥

Happy Sunday! What Sunday dinner wouldn't be complete without an Italian Sunday Dinner. Here is the best lasagna recipe, perfect  and delicious and makes the whole house smell like an old rustic Italian Restaurant! ♥ 

Ingredients ♥ 

1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 lb ground beef
1⁄2 lb ground veal
1⁄2 lb ground pork
1 lb hot Italian sausage, casing removed
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28 ounce) canitalian whole canned tomatoes or 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
2 (28 ounce) cans tomato puree
salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 lbs fresh ricotta
1⁄4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
1 1⁄2 cups grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup set aside
1 1⁄2 lbs fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded, 1/2 cup set aside
2 large eggs, beaten
1 lb lasagna noodle

Directions ♥

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil, add the beef, pork, veal and sausage (without casing) and cook until browned.
Add garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook until the meat is coated.
Add tomatoes with their juices and the tomato puree, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened about 1 1/2 hours.
In large bowl, combine the ricotta with the parsley, basil, 1 cup of the Parmesan, 1 pound of the shredded mozzarella and beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper.
The instructions suggested cooking the dry, curly-ridged lasagna noodles 3 minutes in abundant salted water, drained, rinsed -- I say use fresh, no-cook or even the curly edged pasta, and forget about the pre-cooking. I guarantee the sauce will cook the noodles after 45 minutes of cooking time. This also makes life much easier.
Lasagna Time:.
Preheat the oven to 375°F Spread 1.5 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Line the dish with overlapping noodles.
Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, sprinkle with a little Parmesan and shredded mozzarella then top with 1 1/2 cups of the sauce and another layer of noodles.
Repeat the layering 2 more times. Top with noodles and cover with 1 1/2 cups of sauce (may want to use extra if using uncooked noodles to ensure the noodles are covered and cook evenly. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the lasagna.
Cover Lasagna with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.
Uncover then cook for 30-45 minutes more or until the top is golden and crisp around the edges and the filling is bubbling.

Let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Here are some tips for the perfect Lasagna! 

Boil your noodles in batches to avoid noodles sticking together. Once water is boiling, place noodles upright on the sides of your pot. It’s okay if they fall on top of one another. Be sure to stir gently and cook for just the right amount time. Note package instructions.

You want your noodles to be a bit more al dente than usual, since they’ll be cooking while you bake! Overcooking your noodles can result in mushy noodles. Remove lasagna sheets once they are soft, but still firm. Use tongs and cool them for a moment by dipping them into a bowl of cold water. Next, lay them flat over a clean kitchen towel. This prevents sticking and overcooking while you wait for the rest of your lasagna noodles to be cooked!

“Runny” lasagna will result if your sauces are too thin. The number one cause of soupy lasagna is wet ricotta. Strain your ricotta with cheesecloth or a sieve to remove excess liquid. Ricotta can be strained for up to 24 hours in your refrigerator before its time assemble your dish. Also, be sure boiled noodles are mostly dry and free of excess water. 

Be sure to bake your lasagna covered with a sheet of aluminum foil until the last fifteen minutes. Cook uncovered last to brown your topping ingredients and melt cheeses.

And don’t be impatient! Once removed from the heat, let your lasagna rest. Allowing your lasagna to sit for fifteen to twenty minutes before you make a cut will help keep it from falling apart, making for sloppy servings.

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