Are you like Garfield when it comes to Lasagna but you don’t know how to make it perfectly so that the ricotta and mozzarella melt just right? Well today starts your good fortune for making Lasagna! This recipe has been made dozens of times for different occasions and each time has been tried by dozens of people. It is the best homemade meat and cheese lasagna recipe you can get your hands on we guarantee you will love it!
Ingredients for meat and cheese lasagna:
1 & 1/4 box of Lasagna noodles (the kind to boil)/ 3-4 pounds of Ground Beef/2 packages of spicy Italian Sausage (ie. Perry’s) /2 Large containers of Ricotta Cheese(ie. Cutrufello’s) / 2 packages of Mozzarella Cheese (ie. Polly-O)/ Chopped Garlic/Red Marinara Sauce (homemade is fine or jar ie. Rao’s or Prego NOT A CHUNKY SAUCE)/Nutmeg/Dried Parsley
Quantity is for a regular sized 9×13 lasagna baking pan
Preheat your oven at 375 -400 degrees.
1) First remove the casing on the sausage. Drag a serrated knife along the casing and then pull the meat out from the casing, and put into a bowl. When the sausage is all removed from the casing and in the bowl add in 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic. Mix in the ground beef. When done mixing in the garlic to the meat mixture, put into a large frying pan on medium -high heat. Wash your hands.
2) While the meat is browning keep an eye on it and stir frequently. In the meantime, put 1.5 containers of ricotta cheese into a bowl (a different one than the one you used the meat in) and add 2 teaspoons of nutmeg, and 1/2 cup of the dried parsley. Stir around and mix well. Drain the grease from the meat periodically while working on the ricotta cheese mixture. When the meat is all drained, mix about 1 -1.25 cups of sauce into the meat mixture. We want it completely absorbed by the meat. It gives the meat a little bit more flavor.
3) Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. When the water reaches its boiling point add?1 box of the lasagna noodles. Dump some of the excess water and lower the temperature to a medium-high temperature. When the noodles start to go down a little bit, add the other 1/4 box of noodles. Lightly push down and stir the noodles with tongs. You don’t want to break apart the noodles. It won’t ruin your lasagna if they break, but it will be easier for you to build your meat and cheese lasagna with whole noodle pieces.
4) While the noodles are boiling, start slicing your mozzarella cheese into thin long slices. You will need the entire 2 packages of mozzarella cheese. By the time your noodles are done (soft and tender to the fork /and you can do a taste test) the cheese should be done being cut etc.
5) Drain your noodles and lay your pan in close proximity of all the other bowls/pans. Cover the bottom of the lasagna pan with some sauce. You do this so that your noodles won’t stick to the pan when it’s in the oven. Place a layer of lasagna noodles long ways and cut one short to fit shortways at the top of the pan. So right now you should have sauce on the bottom of your pan and a layer of noodle on top. Next take a spatula to whip your ricotta cheese mixture for about 45 seconds to a whole minute. Once that’s done, spread carefully -you can use your fingers to spread evenly, over the noodle layer. Spread the ricotta mixture so there is a plentiful layer of ricotta on top of the noodles. Next spread evenly with a large enough spoon the meat mixture on top of the ricotta mixture. It does NOT have to cover every inch of the pan.
6) Next carefully spoon some sauce whichever type you chose on top of the meat mixture. Then place individual slices of mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce. So you should have your most top layer so far be mozzarella cheese. And the layers should be from bottom to top, sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture, meat mixture, sauce, mozzarella.
7) Repeat the layers again for a second time in your meat and cheese lasagna. Most lasagna pans will only have enough depth for 2 layers. But they are hearty layers so not to worry! If you have invested in a worthwhile lasagna pan then by all means repeat the layers a 3rd time. When you are layering make sure not overload the sauce. When lasagna is placed in the oven the sauce has a tendency to boil over and spill out. You don’t want to put too little so your homemade meat and cheese lasagna is dry but you don’t want to put too much where it’s too saucy. Use your judgement.
8) When the layering is complete, save a few slices of mozzarella cheese off to the side for the last 10 minutes of baking. Cover the lasagna with foil and place in your oven for approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Ovens and temperatures vary so it will be up to you to periodically check on your meat and cheese lasagna. You can use a baster just in case you think you put too much sauce and/or you can remove from the oven and take off the foil to see if the noodles are burning. When the lasagna is cooked you will know because the?mozzarella will be melted (you can carefully lift a noodle layer) and the ricotta will be oozing all over the place.
You can add a light layer of sauce on the top layer of lasagna and put the remaining slices of mozzarella cheese on top. Bake for another 10 -12 minutes with the foil off. When the lasagna is done, give it about 15 minutes to cool. If you try to serve it before then the pieces you cut will be messy and get all over the place.
Good Luck & Enjoy your homemade meat and cheese lasagna 🙂