When one hosts a last minute dinner party on a work night, one needs to find a quick, hearty meal that can serve a crowd without A) taking hours to prepare B) breaking the bank + C) requiring a lot of active time as guests start arriving.
The great thing about a lasagna is that once it’s in the oven doing its baking thing, you basically have a solid hour to get everything else ready for dinner that you need to. I used my hour to clean the daylights out our outdoor eating area where we would be having our extended family over for dinner, make garlic bread, whip up a potato salad, and set out the cheese/cracker/fruit appetizer to keep everyone occupied while they waited for the main event.
If you do a Google search for “lasagna recipe”, you get 3,350,000 results. I don’t know about you but to me that’s seems just a tad overwhelming. I just decided to wing it. It can’t be that hard to just layer sauce and cheese amongst some noodles, right? Thankfully my hunch was correct and this bad boy was a major crowd pleaser. It took me about 30 minutes of active time to get it oven ready and after an hour or so of baking it was ready to be devoured by the masses.
Serves 8-10 people.
- 4 links mild Italian sausage
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 package lasagna noodles
- 2 jars Newman’s Own Sockarooni Sauce (or sub for your personal fave)
- 8 oz ricotta cheese
- 8 oz cottage cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
Kitchen Tools: large sauté pan, large pot, baking dish, wooden spoon, strainer, spatula, aluminum foil
Dice onion and mince garlic. Combine eggs with ricotta and cottage cheese in a medium-sized bowl. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Preheat oven to 350*F. Place lasagna noodles in boiling water and cook until they are just cooked through but still pretty chewy. Strain, rinse in cold water to stop them from cooking further, and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Toss in onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-7 minutes until they start to get translucent. Add minced garlic. Crumble in ground beef. Push sausage out of the casing in small bite-sized pieces and add to the mix. Cook for about 15 minutes until meat is cooked through, breaking it down as much as possible with a wooden spoon. Drain off any excess fat and pour in 1 jar of pasta sauce. Season with dried oregano and stir everything together.
Pour about 1/2 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of your baking dish and spread evenly with a spatula. Put down one layer of lasagna noodles side by side across the entire dish. Spread half of your cheese mixture on top and cover with more noodles in the same direction as the lower layer. Top with meat sauce and mozzarella. Repeat these layers until you run out of cheese mixture. Place a layer of noodles on top and smear with a thin layer of pasta sauce, making sure to reach the edges of the noodles. Sprinkle on more mozzarella cheese and the parmesan.
Carefully cover with aluminum foil (make sure not to press it into the top layer of cheese) and bake in the oven for 1 hour. After the hour, remove the foil and crank the heat to 425*F. Bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese on top is melty and bubbling. Let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Tips + Tricks:
*when forming your layers, be sure to spread everything as evenly as possible. This will make each slice look and taste more or less the same.
*you’ll want to cook your noodles super al dente because they’re going to continue to cook while in the lasagna while it’s baking.
*have fun with it! This is your creation and you can make your layers as cheesy or saucy as you want.