Saturday, December 21, 2013

World's Best Lasagna?

I made the "World's Best Lasagna" over the weekend for a group of friends. We kept saying the name like Buddy the Elf says "World's Best Cup of Coffee" in the movie Elf. (Get the reference, anyone? Anyone?)

The lasagna was meaty and very flavorful. It was relatively easy to make as far as lasagna goes.

Start by cooking the ground sausage. Cook until there is no pink showing.

The instructions say to break up any large clumps with a spatula. Jim's cousin's wife taught me this cool trick with a potato every time!

Add in the ground beef, onion and garlic. Cook until the beef is browned.

Stir in all of the tomatoes and water. When combined, add in the sugar, spices, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, pepper and half of the parsley. Cook over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

While the sauce is bubbling away, cook the noodles and prep the cheese mixture.

For the cheese mixture, in a small bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, remaining parley and remaining salt.

Looks yummy, doesn't it?

Once all of the components are ready you can start assembling the lasagna. Spread 1 1/2 cups of sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Then layer half of the noodles on top; overlapping the noodles slightly.

Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the noodles.

Add half the sliced mozzarella slices on top. Completely cover the ricotta mixture with the cheese.

Spread 1 1/2 cups of the sauce over the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan. Repeat. Note, you will have leftover sauce.

Bake for 25 minutes covered with foil at 375 degrees, remove the foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Verdict, the lasagna was good. The World's Best? Not quite. My brother-in-law Jeff's is much better. I feel like this recipe is one that someone who wanted to replicate a lasagna they ate at a restaurant would want. It tastes very commercial. Maybe it is all of the fennel seeds. Too me lasagna is more gooey with cheese and this lasagna is missing bechaemel sauce.

World's Best Lasagna


1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
12 oz. lean ground beef
1/2 c. minced white or yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. canned, no-salt-added crushed tomatoes and their juices
12 oz. canned, no-salt-added plain tomato paste
13 oz. canned, no-salt-added plain tomato sauce
1/2 c. water
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. ground dried basil
1/2 t. fennel seed
1 t. Italian seasoning blend
2 t. kosher salt, plus more for the cooking water
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley
12 pieces dried lasagna pasta
1 lb. part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg
12 oz. low-fat mozzarella cheese, sliced
3/4 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Heat the sausage in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, using a spatula to break up any large clumps, until the meat is browned with no trace of pink.

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