Lasagna with Meat Sauce (Daddy-Style)
When I say “Daddy-Style” I’m sure you automatically think…
“extra meaty, hearty, home-cooking.”
And while this lasagna is ALL of those things… it’s not the reason I’ve chosen to call it by this loving name. What I mean by the term “Daddy-Style” is that this lasagna is decidedly non-exotic, inexpensive, and from-the pantry. And it is DE-LICIOUS. Truly anyone can make it. You don’t have to be growing a basil bush in your front yard or be someone who keeps red wine on hand regularly. No sea salt, no cracked pepper, no specialty pasta sauce, no whole wheat organic noodles. All of those things would absolutely fall under the category of “exotic” which was a no-no for this dish.
You might be wondering WHY I decided to make a hearty and purposely non-exotic dish. The answer is quite simple. I was home with my dad this weekend and he asked me to make something for the church potluck and he purchased the ingredients! And among his many unique, quirky, and endearing qualities… I would list his budgetary choices. Things like using your air conditioner and purchasing organic noodles fall outside that budget. Its a part of who he is, a part of my upbringing, and I’ve come to love it about him. (Probably helps that I have a job and can now splurge on nice ingredients occasionally without an argument in the grocery aisle.)
But I digress…
As I was saying, I made this lasagna Saturday and took it to the church potluck. I used basic, generic-brand pantry items but took extra care and the end result was scrumptious and full of flavor! Try it soon.
You will need…
-1 lb. ground beef -1 roll of breakfast sausage -an onion -3 cloves of garlic -dry lasagna noodles -4 cans plain tomato sauce (not pictured) -1 can diced tomatoes (also unpictured, SORRY) -grated mozzarella (or any cheese you have sitting around) -cottage cheese -parmesan cheese (canned is fine) -salt n’ peppa -a bit of olive oil
You can also pull out the following dried herbs and spices (no fresh needed!)
Let’s start with a few preliminary steps…
Stick the ground beef you didn’t have the forethought to thaw out the night before into the microwave.
(This TOTALLY takes me back. I don’t think I’ve done it once since I graduated college. But it was an almost-nightly occurrence in the cooking of my youth.)
Now, grab a pretty sizeable dish (this recipe will feed twelve) and line up some uncooked noodles in it so you can count out however many you need to boil.
For my baking dish, four per layer is looking just right. I broke a bit off of that one vertical noodle because it was too long. Since I want three noodle layers, it looks like I’m boiling 12 noodles!
Throw a half teaspoon of salt into a big pot and start boiling the noodles. You won’t be cooking them through… just getting them started. They’ll finish in the oven.
Pull them out as soon as they get bendy. They won’t be soft.
Throw the ground beef and pork sausage into a large sautée pan. (My meats were pretty lean so I added a little butter. You do as you see fit.)
Begin to break them up and and let them brown.
Again, you won’t be letting this cook all the way through. Just get it started so that while it bakes in the oven the meat won’t get tough.
I held off on adding seasoning because I though I might end up draining off some fat. Since I decided I didn’t need to, I added my seasonings here.
A bit of salt… a lot of pepper… and then of course
then a hefty palm-full of dried basil, and a few pinches of thyme. Yum!
Now its time to begin building a sauce! I didn’t cook the onions and garlic with my meat because they would have stewed instead of sautéed. Instead I threw them into the big pot I had used to boil my noodles.
Chop up as much onion as you like. This is almost a whole onion.
Then chop up your three cloves of garlic. (And don’t be horrified by my double-jointed, back-bending fingers… I can’t control them. Plus I didn’t have my own knives to use.)
I had a little extra fat in my meat pan that I didn’t want to go to waste. The flavors are too good!
So I drained a little into a spoon and used it to fry up my onions and garlic.
Onions go in first! (Because they take longer.) Let them soften on Medium heat for about 5 minutes.
I added pepper here as well. I was sparing with my salt because the sausage tends to do the trick in that department.
Now… in goes the garlic! Just for a minute.
After just a minute… dump in four cans of tomato sauce and one can of diced tomatoes.
Now add in all that meat! Remember, its still a little pink at this point.
Mmmmm…. perfectly hearty and chunky!
Now, because of the slight raw-ness of the meat, I couldn’t take a taste test here. but I had a feeling a little more basil couldn’t hurt! So add some more.
Then spray your baking dish with Pam and line the bottom with noodles.
Then spoon in some of that decadent, meaty sauce. (About a third of it.) And smooth it out.
On top of that, spread a nice layer of cottage cheese (or ricotta if you’re going “exotic.”)
Next sprinkle on a generous layer of mozzarella cheese and a dusting of parmesan.
Then… just repeat repeat repeat!
I left the cottage cheese off the very top layer, but you can do whatever you prefer.
Sprinkle a little dried parsley onto the top so it’ll bake up nice and pretty.
Cover it with foil and store it in the fridge til you’re ready to bake it! If you’re ready now, go for it!
Stick it into a 350 degree oven, and bake it covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for 15-20 more.
The resulting dish is outta-this-world in texture and in flavor. The noodles are perfectly cooked, as is the meat… and the sauce is seasoned and delicious.
I’m telling you… it’s some kinda good!