Lasagna is a delicious, easy to make meal that pleases just about everyone. This article provides a recipe and instructions on how to make a simple, scrumptious cheese lasagna dish so satisfying that meat-lovers won’t even miss the meat. I recommend serving this dish with a colorful salad and your favorite dressing.
The first step is to assemble your ingredients:
(1) 16 oz. package of dry lasagna noodles
(1) 2lb jar of prepared spaghetti sauce
(2) 8 oz. packages of shredded Italian five cheese blend, containing mozzarella, provolone, romano, asiago, and parmesan cheeses
(2) 15 oz. containers of original ricotta cheese or low-moisture part-skim ricotta cheese
(1) 8 oz. container of grated parmesan romano blend cheese
Italian seasoning blend
Fresh ground pepper
Begin Cooking Noodles
Fill a large pot with 6 quarts of water. If desired, add 1 teaspoon salt. I like to use kosher salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add 1 Tablespoon canola oil. The canola oil prevents the lasagna noodles from sticking together. Add lasagna noodles to the water one at a time. Cook according to package directions, usually 10 minutes. Do not overcook. The lasagna noodles are done when al dente, firm to the teeth yet tender.
Prepare Cheese Mixture
While the noodles are cooking, empty both containers of ricotta cheese into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1-1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend. Mix well to distribute seasonings evenly.
Add 1 cup of grated parmesan romano blend cheese to the ricotta cheese. Mix well. Make sure there are no clumps of parmesan romano blend in the mixture.
Add 1-1/2 bags of the shredded Italian five cheese blend to the ricotta mixture. Stir until blended. This will be a very thick cheese mixture at this point and rather difficult to stir. You only need to stir until the shredded cheese is distributed throughout the mixture. Reserve the remaining 1/2 bag of shredded cheese for topping the lasagna.
Drain Noodles and Allow to Cool
The lasagna noodles should have finished cooking by this point. Drain noodles into a large colander in the sink. “Never, ever rinse off the pasta after cooking unless you’re making pasta salad. Washing off all that starch and salt will kill any flavor your pasta once had” (History of Pasta). To keep the noodles from sticking together as the pasta cools, shake the colander gently until steam no longer rises from the noodles.
Assemble the Lasagna
In the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch glass baking pan place 3 to 4 Tablespoons of spaghetti sauce. Spread this evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place three lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan, side by side. Spoon 4-5 Tablespoons of spaghetti sauce over the noodles. Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the sauce. Repeat these steps two more times and finish by placing a fourth layer of lasagna noodles on the top. Spoon the remaining spaghetti sauce on top of the final layer of noodles. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 bag of shredded Italian five cheese blend on top of the sauce. Finish by sprinkling the top with Italian seasoning blend.
Bake the lasagna in an oven pre-heated at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling around the edges and cheese on top is just beginning to turn golden. Remove lasagna from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Cut the lasagna with a knife and scoop out of the pan with a spatula. Serve and enjoy!
Demetri, J. “History of Pasta.” Life in Italy website. URL: http://www.lifeinitaly.com/food/pasta-history.asp