The temps are beginning to cool off! At last! 55 degrees early this morning. We’ve been thinking about making my lasagna to freeze for fall. It is so good I’ve decided to share my recipe with you.
Made the sauce a day ahead so the flavors can develop overnight then baked in the afternoon before you plan on serving it.
The BEST tomato sauce
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 eggs, unbeaten
2 Tbls. grated Romano cheese
3/4 cup finely crushed soda cracker crumbs
1 Tbls. snipped parsley
1 tsp. Salt
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 whole clove garlic
1 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
The day before: Mix beef, eggs, cheese, crumbs, parsley and salt. Divide mixture in half. Shape half into 10 large meat balls; shape remaining half into 4 dozen tiny meat balls. Cut sausages into 1 1/2 inch pieces (I like to remove the casing). In a Dutch oven, brown sausage pieces with garlic clove and olive oil until browned. Add large meat balls and brown. Remove both then add tiny meatballs to brown. Remove all meat balls and set aside.
To collected fat add:
1 – 6 oz. Can Tomato Paste (2/3 cup)
Cook over low heat for a few minutes, until fat is absorbed and mixture starts to brown slightly.
10 cups diced canned tomatoes (6 – 14.7 oz. Cans or 3 No. 2.5 cans)
3/4 tsp. whole fennel seeds
2 tsp. Salt
Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, 1 hour. It boils like molten lava, so I cover my Dutch oven with a frying screen to keep it from spattering the stove top. After an hour it should be very thick.
Add the sausage and meat balls,
plus 2 1/2 cups water
and cook, uncovered (same screen) for about 2 hours. Remove the sausage pieces and large meat balls to a glass bowl. Put the sauce in a second glass bowl. Cool, then refrigerate over night.
The BEST Lasagna
1 lb. lasagna noodles
24 oz. cottage cheese
2 eggs, unbeaten
1/4 cup snipped parsley
1/2 to 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 lb. shredded mozzarella cheese
Tomato Sauce with Sausage and Meat Balls
About 2 hours before serving:
Reheat the sauce – over low heat until it bubbles; then add
2 Tbls. snipped parsley
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp. dried basil
Bring to boil, in a large covered kettle, 6 quarts water, 2 Tbls. salt. Add noodles; cook, stirring occasionally, until they seem tender and not hard in the center. Do not over cook. Taste a noodle now and then to be sure they don’t get mushy.
When the noodles are done, quickly drain and hang them over the side of your colander for easier handling.
Remove 1 cup of the sauce you’ve reheated and add it to the large meatballs and sausages, set this aside until just before serving.
Start heating the oven to 400 degrees.
Spread one forth of the sauce and small meat balls over the bottom of a 14”x10”x2” or oval shallow pan,
Then lay about one-third of the noodles, one at a time, over the sauce in the pan until the bottom is completely covered.
Blend the cottage cheese, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper thoroughly. Spread half of this mixture over the noodle layer.. Sprinkle with about 1/3 cup of Romano cheese and 1/3 of the Mozzarella.. Repeat these layers once (sauce, noodles, cottage cheese mixture, cheeses), then add another 1/4 of the sauce and remaining noodles. Sprinkle top layer of noodles with remaining Romano and Mozzarella cheeses.
Bake 1 hour. Be sure to put a large pan of water under the lasagna to catch any spills…unless you like cleaning the oven, of course.
Remove from oven and let stand about 30 minutes so it will cut easily. While it rests, slowly reheat the reserved sauce, sausages and large meatballs to serve along side.
Serve with a big green salad, crusty garlic bread and a rich red wine. Perfect!!! Every time. Enjoy.
Oh, by the way! As you can see, this is enough for a crowd! Two of us could never eat the whole thing in one meal – but it freezes beautifully. After we enjoy the first meal, I cut the rest into dinner size portions, wrap and freeze it for at least four more dinners. Having meals this good all ready to go by just adding a salad and bread is great after a busy day.