Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Ultimate Lasagna

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 min
Yield: 8 servings


* 2 pound dried lasagna noodles
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 pounds ground beef
* 2 pound ground Italian sausage
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, sliced
* 3 carrots, chopped
* 2 stalks celery, chopped
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
* 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
* 1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 cups red wine
* 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
* 3 tablespoons heavy cream
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 2 quarts ricotta cheese, (2 containers)
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
* Grated Parmesan and mozzarella, for topping


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook the lasagna noodles in plenty of boiling salted water until
pliable and barely tender, about 10 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon
to prevent sticking. Drain the noodles thoroughly and coat with olive
oil to keep them moist and easy to work with.

Coat a large skillet with olive oil, add beef and sausage and brown
until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a food processor, combine the onion, carrots, celery, garlic,
basil, parsley, an oregano. Process until pureed, add to the pan with
the ground meat and stir to combine. Stir in the flour. Add the wine
and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes and add
the heavy cream and the cinnamon.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta and the parmesan. Stir in the eggs
and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the lasagna: Coat the bottom of a deep 13 by 9-inch pan
with olive oil. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise in a slightly overlapping
layer on the sauce. Then, line each end of the pan with a lasagna
noodle. This forms a collar that holds in the corners. Dollop 1/2 of
the ricotta mixture over the pasta, spread to the edges with a
spatula. Spread 1/2 of the meat mixture over the ricotta. Sprinkle 1/2
of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta. Top with a ladle full of
sauce, spread evenly. Repeat with the next layer of noodles, ricotta,
sauce, and cheeses. Top last layer with noodles, sauce, shredded
mozzarella and Parmesan. Tap the pan to force out air bubbles. Bake
for 1 hour. Remove from oven. Let lasagna rest for 30 minutes so the
noodles will settle and cut easily. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.


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