Cheesy, meaty, saucy heaven. Nothing beats a cold winter’s day than coming home to a hot plate of lasagna. Growing up, my mom worked swing shift so dinner was usually made by my dad. Needless to say, lasagna was not on his repertoire of dinner items.
So, lasagna was something I had to learn to make myself. Through the years my tastes and cooking style has matured. I’ve learned to make lasagna many different ways. But I always come back to my first recipe. This recipe is tweaked a little since the 10-year-old back then was not allowed access to wine. But otherwise, it remains true to my younger version.
INGREDIENTS FOR SAUCE:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 1 cup sliced brown or white mushrooms
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, thyme mix)
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons sugar
INGREDIENTS FOR LASAGNA:
- 1 12-16 oz box of lasagna noodles
- 1 32 oz carton of cottage cheese
- 3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese (Mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Romano, Fontina & Asiago)
- Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9X13 casserole pan with cooking spray or rub all sides of pan with vegetable oil. Set aside.
- Add olive oil to sauce pan. Turn burner heat to medium high. When oil ripples, add diced red onion and mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes until onions and mushrooms are tender.
- Add ground beef and separate and cook until browned. Once ground beef is browned, discard any fat from pan.
- Lower burner heat to low.
- Add spaghetti sauce, red wine, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and sugar and stir until mixed well and simmer for 5 minutes. (Yes. Sugar. My 10-year-old self thought spaghetti sauce was too tart. And grown up me still thinks so too.)
- Don’t forget to turn off burner.
- In the 9X13 casserole pan spoon a thin layer of sauce on bottom.
- Place a layer of uncooked lasagna noodles in pan. (Yes, uncooked. No need to boil noodles when the oven and sauce can do all the work for you. It just takes more baking time)
- Next add the entire carton of cottage cheese and half the shredded Italian blend cheese as a layer. (Why cottage cheese? 10-year-old self didn’t like the taste and texture of ricotta cheese. And a grown up plus is cottage cheese is less fattening than ricotta cheese.)
- Next add another layer of lasagna noodles.
- Now add half the sauce you prepared earlier over that layer of noodles.
- Add your final layer of noodles.
- Add the last half of sauce. Be sure to get more sauce around the edges of noodles, rather than the center. This will ensure the edges get cooked as well and not burn.
- Add the remainder of the Italian blend cheese on top.
- Cover casserole with foil. Cut vent holes in foil with knife or fork. Place casserole on baking pan to catch drips and prevent oven burn.
- Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
- Uncover and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy a piece of my childhood!