Homemade Lasagna with Fresh Pasta

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I can’t think of a better tasting dish than lasagna with fresh, homemade pasta. Having homemade lasagna is one of the heartiest, most delicious, most succulent dishes and, while it takes some time to make, the finished product is enough to feed the family and keep everyone happy.

It’s the first thing we go to when we’re in Italy, and the first thing I think about if we have a taste for Italian food back home. Not pizza. Not carbonara, but a thick, satisfying and authentic Italian lasagna.

The recipe below isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is well worth it!

Ingredients

Sauce

1 large onion (2 cups, 9 oz), diced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb sweet Italian sausage

1 lb lean ground beef

½ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

Salt and pepper

28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

2-6 oz cans of tomato paste

15 oz can tomato sauce

½ cup red wine*

Lasagna

1 lb fresh lasagna noodles

2 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese

2 large eggs

10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 1/4 lbs whole milk mozzarella, shredded

3 1/2 oz grated Parmesan and Romano cheese

Instructions

In a large pot over medium heat, pour in a glug of olive oil, add in the onions and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add in sausage and ground beef. Break the meat into small pieces and cook until meat is well browned, stirring constantly.

Stir in basil, parsley, sugar, fennel, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Pour in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and wine*. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Meanwhile, place lasagna noodles into the bottom of a pan. Pour hot tap water directly over the noodles, making sure the pasta is completely immersed in the water. Let them soak for 30 minutes, then drain.

Squeeze out as much water from the defrosted spinach as possible and chop up any large pieces.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, eggs, spinach, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg. Refrigerate until ready to assemble lasagna.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a deep 9×13 pan.

To assemble, spread about 1 cup of meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Place 1/4 of the noodles on top. Spread with 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1/4 each of the mozzarella and grated cheese mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella and  repeat layering two more times to create three complete layers.

To finish, place a final layer of pasta, topped with another 1 cup of meat sauce to cover the pasta. Top with remaining mozzarella and grated. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes to allow cheese to brown.


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