Mom’s Lasagna

 

lasagna

Talk about comfort foods, this is one of my all-time favorites! My mom makes it with cottage cheese, and it is amazing. Ricotta is more traditional, but for some reason the saltiness of cottage cheese has always been more appealing to me, and it’s better for you! For the filling, fresh parsley is always better than dried (imagine that!).

Also, when it comes to tomato sauce, I make my own once every few months and freeze it, so that’s what I’ve used here. You can find my sauce recipe here! But, if you really don’t want the lasagna to be this time intensive, look for a sauce that has big chunks of garlic and basil and if it has other spices that is even better! I usually make mine with fennel, basil, oregano, and herbes de provence.

When it comes to pasta, homemade is always better but I cannot expect all of my readers to have pasta makers, especially considering I don’t even have one! Most people have a brand of dried grocery pasta that they prefer, and I recommend you just go with your gut or your wallet on this one! Honestly, if the pasta itself isn’t the best stuff around, this lasagna will still be delicious! Just make sure that it’s cooked al dente for this dish.

Even if you normally prefer your pasta very well done (cringe!), this dish is going into the oven for an additional 45 minutes after you boil the lasagne noodles, so you really don’t need to worry about it being too tough for your tastes. Also, the noodles are like the frame and foundation for this delicious building, and they need to have some fortitude to withstand the weight of cheesy goodness that’s going in on top of them!

lasagna

One last comment: this recipe is a very simple one. It is vegetarian friendly, and doesn’t require complicated ingredients. It is surprisingly easy to assemble, and for those diners who are insistent carnivores, you can always fry up some Italian sausage and throw it on top!

Mom’s Lasagna
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
16 ounces cottage cheese
16 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
10-12 lasagne noodles (a little under what’s in a 1lb box, I use Barilla)
3 1/2 cups (28 ounces) tomato sauce (I promise I will upload a recipe soon!)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese to top

First, assemble the filling. In a medium-sized bowl, stir the cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and the eggs together.

Next, add in the mozzarella, parsley, kosher salt, and pepper.

Then, prepare the pasta. Start a big pot of water boiling with a splash of olive oil, and a dash of both kosher salt and pepper. Once a rolling boil gets going, put the noodles in the water and let them cook according to the package instructions.

You can easily check to make sure the pasta is done by testing how tough it is. It should be completely pale and tender, but not easy to cut with the edge of the spoon.

lasagnaWhen the pasta is done, drain it and begin assembling the lasagna ASAP. It will be hot and not easy to handle, but if you let it sit the noodles can easily stick together and then they are torn to shreds when you try to separate them! As frustrating as it is to deal with hot noodles, I promise it is more frustrating to try to assemble tattered and irregularly shaped lasagne!

 

Finally, assemble the lasagna! Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the bottom of a 9×13 pan, spread out 1/3 a cup of the sauce (I used a little more than this, but you don’t need much).

On top of the sauce, add a layer with 3 noodles.

lasagna

Next, carefully spread out a layer with half of the cottage cheese mixture. This is a little difficult because the noodles will slide a bit. A spoon or rubber spatula will get the job done if you spread it slowly and carefully.

lasagna

Next, add another layer with three more noodles. Then, spread out more sauce. Add three more noodles and on top of that, add the rest of the cottage cheese mixture. Add the final three noodles and then spread sauce out on top of them. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on the top of the entire dish.

lasagna

Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake it for 35 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and cook for an additional ten minutes to crisp up the top layer. After it’s done, remove it from the oven and let it set for 10 minutes before cutting slices out.

lasagna

Enjoy with garlic toast and wine!

lasagna

 

 

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