I’m not a huge tomato sauce person, but lasagna is one of my weaknesses. How could I resist? Gooey cheese, layers of meat and noodles, that sauce pulling the whole thing together. And because I couldn’t find gluten-free lasagna noodles ahead of time, I bought 12 boxes from Amazon. That’s a whole lotta lasagna.
The way I figure it, I have enough noodles to last me several years!*
It takes about five minutes of Internet research to discover that everyone has a favorite lasagna recipe, ranging from quick to laborious. Or, there is no wrong way to make a lasagna. Take what works for you and don’t worry too much about doing it “right” — as long as it’s tasty, you’re good.
This recipe involves making your own Bolognese sauce, so it will take some time (think of a terrific sauce simmering on the stove all afternoon, that’s what we’re doing here). Letting the sauce simmer develops a rich flavor — one I find hard to replicate with store-bought sauces (which, of course, I use when time is working against me).
As you will see in the notes, you can skip steps 1 − 6 if you are pressed for time.
* — Okay, truth: those noodles will be gone in no time since I’m testing different lasagna styles.
By June 1, 2013Published:
- Yield: 6 Servings
- Prep: 30 mins
- Cook: 45 mins
- Ready In: 1 hr 25 mins
While this dish takes a lot of time because of the sauce, it's worth the effort. As a bonus, you'll have leftovers to enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots finely chopped
- 1/2 cup celery finely chopped
- 1/4 cup bacon chopped
- 8 ounces ground beef lean, if possible
- 8 ounces spicy Italian sausage or ground pork
- 1/2 cup dry white wine see Notes
- 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes see Notes
- 1 cup chicken stock heated
- salt and pepper to taste (remember, the cheese will add saltiness)
- red pepper flakes optional
- 1 cup heavy cream see Notes
- 9 - 12 gluten-free lasagna noodles see Notes
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 3/4 cup cottage cheese
- 3/4 cup parmesan shredded
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- Heat the olive oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven. When the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, and bacon. Saute until the vegetables are tender, approximately 10 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and sausage (or ground pork), cook over medium-high eat until no more pink shows. Add the wine or tomato juice and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
- Add the tomatoes and crush with your spoon, mixing into the meat mixture. Add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down, and simmer your sauce, partially covered, for an hour. Stir occasionally, continuing to crush the tomatoes.
- Taste your sauce. Add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if using — let your tastebuds be your guide. Since lasagna has lots of cheese, you don’t want to oversalt the sauce.
- Let cook for another hour. You will have a greatly reduced and thick sauce — very little liquid should remain. If you are making the sauce ahead of time, refrigerate or freeze it at this point. Reheat before beginning the next step.
- Add the cream and cook for 15 minutes. Adjust your seasonings again; make it yummy.
- If you are cooking your noodles, cook according to package instructions now. Undercook them slightly — they’ll continue cooking in the oven.
- Mix the ricotta and cottage cheese together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Now, build your lasagna. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. If you prefer, spray cooking spray or grease your pan with butter (I don’t do this, but your pans may be different). Using a ladle, spread 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of your lasagna pan.
- Place a layer of noodles over the sauce (my pan holds three across). You may need to cut/break the noodles to fit properly. Spread the ricotta/cottage cheese mixture. Cover with a layer of meat sauce, and sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses over the sauce.
- Top with another layer of noodles. Repeat the cheese and sauce layers. End with the parmesan cheese layer. Because the GF noodles I have are no-bake, I like to make sure they are well-covered with cheese and sauce before cooking. If you are making the lasagna ahead of time, cover the pan and place in the refrigerator; remove 30 − 45 minutes before baking. If you are freezing the lasagna, it will need about a day to defrost before baking.
- Cover your dish with foil and cook the lasagna for 30 minutes (if you’ve pre-cooked your noodles, you don’t have to cover the pan; I find no-bake GF noodles need to be covered into order to soften up properly). Remove the cover, and let cook for another 10 − 15 minutes, letting the cheese brown and get bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 − 10 minutes. This gives the layers a chance to settle.