I love lasagna! I love ALL KINDS of lasagna! Even though it's a dish I would typically make in the cooler months, I was really craving it the other day. So why not share, right? So good! I put this picture up on my Facebook page and mistakenly said it was my Lasagna Supreme. (Coming up with names to distinguish them all can be tricky sometimes.) And YES, this is a SUPREME lasagna...but it's actually my Lasagna With Sweet Basil. My most favorite lasagna at the moment. Enjoy!
6 - 9 NO BAKE lasagna noodles
sweet basil leaves, about a palm full
For The Sauce:
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 Lbs ground sirloin (can also do half sirloin half Italian bulk sausage)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes (optional)
dash or two of balsamic vinegar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste (I use plenty of both)
2-3 cups ricotta cheese (depending on how much of this you prefer, I use 3 cups)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (Grate off the block. Not the stuff in the green can)
2 egg whites
4-5 cups freshly grated mozzarella
To Prepare Sauce: Heat your olive oil in a large,stock pot, or deep heavy skillet, large enough to hold all of the sauce ingredients. Sauté the onion and garlic, until softened. Add the beef to the pan, and cook, crumbling it with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink. Drain fat if you prefer. *I do not do this. (It gives so much flavor.)
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, oregano, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer on very low for about an hour. Sometimes I let it go longer. Discard the bay leaf. Pre-heat your oven to 350.
To Make The Cheese Layer:
Stir together your ricotta, parmesan, and egg whites. Maybe add a dash of salt.
Assemble The Lasagna: Using a 9x13 inch baking dish, and using a ladle, spread about 1 cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom of dish. Lay 3 noodles on top of the sauce. Spread half the ricotta mixture over the noodles, and then ladle meat sauce over that. Sprinkle with 2 cups of mozzarella and repeat process one more time. *Just before topping it off with the mozzarella, lay your basil leaves on top of the meat sauce, and then sprinkle with 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.
Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for half an hour, then uncover it and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s nice and bubbly around the edges. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before cutting.
Leslie's Notes: Lasagna typically has more layers. I like mine with a little less. That's why there are just 2 layers in this dish. If you prefer yours to have that extra layer of noodles at the end, just use 3 more noodles on top of the meat sauce before you top it with the basil and mozzarella. *That's why I said I use 6 to 9 noodles. Really depends on my mood. (winks)