This lasagna is the dish I serve almost every time we have company over. Not only is it so delicious that my guest beg for seconds, it also can be made ahead of time. It seems whenever we have company over, disaster inevitably strikes. My son or dog will “redecorate” our home to look something like this:
True story. Being able to make the lasagna ahead of time, gives me the opportunity to clean up the destruction before the guests arrive. All you have to do is put the lasagna together, put it in the fridge, and then pop it in the oven about an hour before your company arrives. Just serve with garlic bread and salad. Easy and elegant!
STEP ONE: Make the Meat Sauce
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. It doesn’t really matter which kind of ground beef you buy, but be sure to drain off any excess oil. Add stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, sugar, and bay leaf. Stir well to incorporate the mixture and to break up the large pieces of tomato; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
STEP TWO: Ricotta Mixture
Mix 1 cup of ricotta cheese with one egg. Done.
STEP THREE: Boil Lasagna Noodles
Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add lasagna noodles and cook according to package directions or until at the desired texture. I usually boil one extra noodle than what I need so that I can test it. The only way to truly know if it is done is to try a little piece.
STEP FOUR: Put it all Together and Bake
Pre-heat oven to 375. Layer 1/2 of the lasagna noodles in a 9×13 dish. This should be just enough to cover the bottom of your dish. Add 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture, top with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, and finally, top with 1/2 of the meat sauce. Repeat. Add 1/2 cup shredded cheese on top. Cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Quick Tip:I usually throw some garlic bread in the oven while the lasagna is resting so they are both done at the same time.
STEP FIVE: Garnish and Serve
Roughly chop fresh basil and sprinkle over the top of the lasagna. Serve with a salad and garlic bread.