Lasagna was the very first dish I ever prepared for my husband-to-be. We had just gotten engaged and were at my parents’ home for the Christmas holidays. As you can see in these photos, taken at that very event 36 years ago, it was just as important to me that everything look lovely as it was that the meal taste delicious – a quirk that has stayed with me, particularly when it comes to entertaining.
1 ½ lb. Ground Beef
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can Tomatoes, pulsed
2 (6 oz.) cans Tomato Paste
2 Tomato Paste Can of Water
1 T Dried or 2 T Fresh Basil, chopped
1 t Salt
½ t Pepper
2 Eggs, beaten
3 C Small Curd Cottage Cheese
½ C Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 T Dried or 4 T Fresh Parsley, chopped
½ t Pepper1 lb. Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 lb. Lasagna Noodles
Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Drain and add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, basil, salt and pepper. Stir well. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Add lasagna noodles and gently stir to prevent them sticking together. Cook 8 minutes. Leave them in water until you are ready to assemble the dish.
In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper.
Place a layer of lasagna noodles in the bottom of a large Pyrex dish. Spoon half of the cheese filling mixture on top of noodles and spread evenly. Pour half of the Meat mixture over cheese filling and spread evenly, being careful not to mix into the cheese. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers (noodles, cheese filling, meat mixture) and top with remaining half of mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Allow to stand about 10 minutes before serving.
Note: This dish can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Assemble it but don’t bake it. Cover tightly before refrigerating. If placed in the oven cold from the refrigerator, cover with foil for the first 20 minutes and then add another 20 minutes to cooking time. This dish also freezes well. Assemble it completely, but don’t bake it. Cover tightly and freeze. Allow dish to thaw completely before baking.