I started making this when I was about 12, I think. We didn't eat lasagna much; as a family of 8 (half boys) you pretty much have to make 2 pans of it for it to last one meal. I remember asking my dad one time if we could have lasagna. He said, "Sure, if you make it!" So that was the beginning for me...
I started with a recipe from a cookbook, to be honest I can't even remember which one, and over the years have tweaked it. It's honestly nothing special, but it does taste yummy, and I don't think it requires that much extra work. Try it out & see what you think!
(I make this to fit in a 9x9 square pan; with my kids, we're just a family of 4 and can't eat a 13x9 pan--plus, I haven't quite perfected the ratio of ingredients for a larger pan)
10-12 lasagna noodles
1 lb ground beef
1 regular sized jar Ragu Tomato, Garlic, & Onion sauce (yes, this brand & flavor. It DOES make a difference & I really have to thank Ragu, because I think this sauce makes the lasagna awesome!)
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (I usually grate my own; whole milk tastes great but I usually use part-skim)
1 (15 oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4-1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
- Boil water for the noodles, cook according to package directions. I do think it's important to cook your noodles first. Drain noodles & I usually rinse in cold water so they're easier to handle.
- Brown ground beef & drain. Add jar of sauce (it will be thick).
- In separate bowl, mix ricotta cheese with milk & spices (salt/pepper to taste) until consistency is thick but spreadable. You don't want it to be runny.
- Get your 9x9 pan, put a small layer of sauce on the bottom. Place 4 lasagna noodles on the bottom (they'll overlap a bit and I do trim mine to fit the pan). Cover with a layer of meat sauce, then half the ricotta mixture, then a third of the mozzarella. Repeat noodles, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella.
- Then one more layer of noodles and sauce. Top with remaining mozzarella.
- Bake at 375 for about 35-45 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned & sauce is bubbling. This freezes very well, and I often make it ahead & refrigerate for cooking the next day.
We eat this with a salad or some great grilled vegetables and homemade garlic bread! Yummy!
Oh, I almost forgot! The best part of making this in a 9x9 pan is taking the ends of the noodles you trimmed and sopping up the last bits of the sauce & ricotta that didn't make it into the lasagna. My hubby & I are always fighting over these last bits of noodles!