Meaty Lasagna

I created this recipe when I was cooking for a golf course in college.  Since then, this recipe has become a staple at big family gatherings and is always a huge hit.  It is rich and extremely flavorful.

Ingredients:

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1- 16 ounce container cottage cheese

1/3 cup fresh parsley

1 medium onion, chopped

3 large cloves garlic

1 lb ground beef

1 lb italian sausage

3-14 oz cans tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes if you want a little more texture

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp onion powder

1/2-1 tsp garlic salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1-16 oz pkg mozzarella cheese, grated

1 package lasagna noodles

2 cups chopped spinach leaves.

Directions:

Get your water started for your noodles.  (You can also use the “no-cook” lasagna noodles, which actually work pretty well because they end up absorbing a lot of excess moisture in the lasagna (do not add extra water if the noodles call for it).  If you are boiling your noodles, cook until tender but still a little firm (al dente). They will continue to cook in the oven. Drain.  If you still have a while before you are ready to assemble the lasagna, rinse noodles with cold water to keep from sticking together.

Place cottage cheese in a mesh strainer for several minutes.  Stir occasionally until a good majority of the moisture is removed.  Moisture is not your friend when it comes to lasagna because it will turn your beautiful dish into soup.

Prepare cheeses, spinach, and parsley.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook hamburger and sausage with garlic and onion over medium-high to high heat in a large skillet or stock pot. This is a lot of meat to cook at one time so be sure your pan starts off very hot and stays hot so you don’t end up loosing all of the juice from the meat and onions.  If you find that your meat starts to boil, crank up the heat and drain as you go if you have to.  Drain grease thoroughly.

Add tomato sauce, garlic salt, onion powder, pepper, oregano,and  basil. Be sure to taste and adjust spices if needed.  It is ok if the sauce is a little salty at this point because that salt is going to be spread out over a lot of other ingredients.  Let your sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow some of the moisture from the tomato sauce to cook out.

Mix together cottage cheese , parmesan, and fresh parsley in a medium bowl.

Spray 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over bottom of pan.  Place a layer of noodles on sauce.  Layer 1/3 of your cottage cheese mixture on noodles.  Top with 1/3 of the chopped spinach (forgot to take pic of this step) . Add 1/3 of remaining meat sauce. Top with 1/3 mozzarella cheese. Again, add a layer of noodles, then cottage cheese, spinach, meat sauce, mozzarella cheese.  Do this one more time adding remainder of ingredients.  Spray a large piece of aluminum foil with non-stick spray (if you forget this step, all of your cheese will stick to the foil..speaking from experience here).  Cover lasagna with foil.

Place a pice of aluminum foil on bottom oven rack (the juices from the lasagna might over-flow a little so prepare before-hand to prevent lots of smoke and a dirty oven).

Bake lasagna for 45 minutes, remove foil and continue cooking an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for a minimum of 10-15 minutes.  This will allow the lasagna set up. If you serve it immediately, it will be very runny.  If there is any liquid standing on the cheese, I usually drain it off with a spoon or paper towel immediately before it has a chance to soak back in.  After it has had time to rest, serve with warm crusty french bread and a ceasar salad…. mmmm. makes my mouth water.

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