The Ultimate Lasagna
Hands-on time: 45 minutes Total time: 3 hours Makes: 12 servings
With layer after scrumptious layer of rich meat sauce, tender pasta and creamy cheese, this lasagna is the best you’ll ever have. The family-friendly classic is just as good when you make it ahead, so it’s a Monday-night lifesaver.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
675 g lean ground beef
2 cans (each 156 ml) tomato paste
2 cans (each 796 ml) diced tomatoes
1 cup dry red or white wine
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
12 lasagna noodles
1 tub (475 g) extra-smooth ricotta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp each salt and pepper
4½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions, celery, carrot and 4 cloves of the garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in beef and tomato paste; cook, breaking up beef with spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaves.
Meanwhile, in large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook noodles for 2 minutes less than package instructions for al dente; drain. Arrange noodles, ½ inch apart, in single layer on tea towel.
In bowl, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, egg, basil, salt, pepper and remaining garlic.
Set aside 1½ cups of the sauce. Spread one-third of the remaining sauce in bottom of 13- x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish. Arrange 3 noodles over top; sprinkle with 1½ cups of the mozzarella. Top with half of the remaining sauce, 3 noodles, ricotta mixture, 3 noodles, remaining sauce, then 3 noodles. Top with reserved sauce and remaining mozzarella. Cover with foil. Bake in 375°F oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until mozzarella is golden, about 15 minutes. Tent with foil; let stand for 30 minutes before serving.
PER SERVING: about 551 cal, 35 g pro, 30 g total fat (16 g sat. fat), 36 g carb (5 g dietary fibre, 10 g sugar), 92 mg chol, 1,065 mg sodium, 868 mg potassium. % RD I: 47% calcium, 36% iron, 36% vit A, 43% vit C, 33% folate.