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A Most Excellent Lasagna


The nice thing about Lasagna other than its lure to commit deadly sin #2 is that its very easy to make an outstanding dish of it, you just need a good recipe.

Here’s why.

Generally speaking a successful effort in the kitchen requires 3 things-

  1. A good plan (recipe, imagination, etc)
  2. Using the best ingredients you can reasonably/affordably obtain
  3. Proper execution

So assuming you have a good recipe (we do) and you get good quality ingredients it comes down to execution and if you can brown meat, cut vegetables and beat an egg you can make an outstanding lasagna.

While the bread dough for the Italian Herb Bread was rising and the sauce for the lasagna was simmering and before I had the momentary lapse of reason I thought I’d learn a little about Lasagna. The most disturbing thing I learned was the original root word meant ‘chamber pot’ and the funniest thing I learned was that the British and Italians have been scrapping over who can lay claim to the first Lasagna. Even the Italian Embassy in London got involved when this first came to light a few years back.

Anyway after my search for Italian Herb Bread took me to AllRecipes I searched the site for Lasagna and found this gem originally posted by John Chandler.

What’s different than most is that its heavy on Italian Sausage. That’s a favorite of mine so I just left it as is. If you just don’t like Italian Sausage then you can substitute with more or all beef but otherwise I urge you to try it as is.


  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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