One of our resolutions at the start of the year was to try our hand at making lasagne, which neither of us had ever made. Given the wealth of obscurer dishes we’ve tried, I’m not sure why it’s taken us this long to try it. We had extra ricotta cheese after making our delicious gnudi last week, so we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to give it a go. 


Serves 12

1 lb sweet Italian sausage
¾ lb lean ground beef
½ cup minced onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
2 6.5 oz cans canned tomato sauce
½ cup water
2 tbsp white sugar
1½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp plus ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
¾ lb mozzarella cheese, sliced
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

In a large pot, cook sausage, ground beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.

In a bowl, soak the lasagna noodles in hot water for 20 minutes and then drain. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley and ½ tsp salt. Preheat oven to 375 F.

To assemble, spread 1½ cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over the meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of the mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1½ cups meat sauce over mozzarella and sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.


A few notes on preparation: I couldn’t find sweet Italian sausage, so we used mild Italian sausage. We increased the amount of beef to 1 lb, used 1 15 oz can of canned tomato sauce and instead of water used ¾ cup red wine and ¼ cup chicken stock.

Super delicious! It was also surprisingly straightforward to make. Other than the simmering of the meat sauce, which ultimately isn’t that taxing (just stir it occasionally), it was quite an easy dish. It had a wonderful full flavour from the combination of beef and pork, and the fennel seeds really added a nice dimension to it. It also made fantastic leftovers for the next week. Calling it a win!

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