A holiday dinner table staple…..Lasagna

Basil, three cheeses, meat sauce and plenty of yummy noodles!

When our family has something to celebrate and a dinner is planned you can bet the table will include a pan of my homemade lasagna. The meat sauce is hearty and flavorful and the cheeses are rich and add enough salty flavor you don’t even need to add salt. This dish can grace a family table or can please hungry tailgaters on a brisk fall day.


For the meat sauce….
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 lb of Italian Sausage removed from the casing
1 lb of ground veal
1 onion diced
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup grated pecorino/romano cheese
1 Tbsp.Dry Oregano
1 Tbsp.Dry Basil
1 cup of good red wine

For the cheese filling…
1 large container of Ricotta Cheese
4 cups of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 cup of grated Pecorino/Romano Cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
Fresh ground pepper

1 lb box of Lasagna Noodles
Fresh Basil

In a large dutch oven heat olive oil and add diced onion. Saute until just turning a little gold in color and add the minced garlic. Cook the garlic long enough to allow the flavor to be released.Then add the ground meats. Break up the meat as it browns into crumbles. Once the meat has browned, drain any excess fat and add the tomatoes, spices, wine and grated cheese. Allow the sauce to simmer on low until it bubbles continuing to stir occasionally. Turn to simmer for about half and hour until the sauce is thick and yummy!

While the sauce is simmering prepare the cheese filling AND place a large pan of salted and oiled water on the stove and turn it on high till it comes to a boil for the noodles. For the filling, place the ricotta cheese in a large bowl along with the beaten egg, salt and pepper. Set aside. Prepare the noodles dropping them in the boiling water. Cook for time suggested on the box. Do not overcook! Once the noodles are done, drain and lay them individually on a dry towel.

You are ready to build your dish!
In the bottom of a pyrex rectangular pan place about a cup of meat sauce. Place a layer of noodles, overlapping each one until you have six noodles covering the bottom of the pan. Next take one third of the cheese filling from the bowl and spread it on the noodles. Take one third of the shredded mozzarella cheese and spread it over the ricotta mixture. Now lay basil leaves randomly on top of the mozzarella. Repeat with the sauce, the filling, the mozzarella and the basil until you have three layers. End with a sprinkle of grated pecorino/romano cheese and fresh ground pepper.

At this point you can refrigerate for later use. When you cover the dish, be sure to place a sheet of wax paper on top before the tin foil. Seal and place in refrigerator or freezer.

When you are ready to bake, allow the dish to reach room temperature, remove foil and wax paper. Place in preheated 350 oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes. The top should be golden but not burned.

Once done, remove from oven, allow to rest for 15 minutes or more. This will allow you to slice easily.
Garnish with a sprig of basil. Serve with additional meat sauce and grated cheese.


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