This definitive lasagna has tomato sauce, chunks of meat and two kinds of cheese and sauce. It's made from scratch, just like Grandma's. Enjoy.
1Ú4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1Ú2 pound ground beef chuck
1Ú2 pound ground sirloin
4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1Ú2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1Ú4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 28-ounce cans Italian peeled tomatoes, finely chopped with juiced reserved
28-ounce can tomato purée
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs, tied together with kitchen string
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper
11Ú2 pounds sweet italian sausage, casings removed
2 pounds fresh ricotta cheese
1Ú4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
1Ú2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 pound packaged whole milk mozzarella, shredded
12 dried lasagna noodles
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole dish, heat the olive oil over high heat until simmering. Add the chuck and sirloin and cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat into large chunks, until no pink remains.
Add the garlic, oregano and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste and cook until meat is coated. Add the tomatoes and their juices and the tomato purée along with the chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 8 cups, about 11Ú2 hours. Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet. Add the sausage meat and cook until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain sausage and break into 11Ú2-inch pieces.
In a large bowl, combine ricotta, parsley, basil and 1Ú4 cup parmesan cheese. Add two-thirds of the shredded mozzarella and season with the salt and pepper. Beat in the egg.
In the large pot of boiling water, cook the lasagna noodles, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Dry the noodles between layers of paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread one cup of sauce in the bottom of the 9-by-13-inch glass baking pan. Line the dish with four overlapping noodles. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, then top with half the sausage, 11Ú2 cups of sauce and four more noodles.
Repeat the layering with remaining ricotta mixture, sausage and another 11Ú2 cups of sauce.
Toss the remaining mozzarella and parmesan and sprinkle over lasagna.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and crisp around the edges and the filling is bubbling. Let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Simple tomato sauce
Makes 3 cups
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, very finely sliced
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
1 28-oz can Italian whole tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a medium-size, nonreactive saucepan. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook over low heat until garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes with their juices and paste to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
• Molly Gingell is the owner of Molly's Gourmet Catering, takeout and cooking school at 220 W. John St. in Carson City.