Since the two of us were married, partner meal planning did not occur without Jacob suggesting lasagna.  So, I felt his birthday would be a perfect time to whip up a bit of his favorite pasta.  I really like the format of Cooking for Engineers for recipes in general.  My favorite from their recipe collection is the lasagna and their chicken pot pie. I followed their directions pretty closely.  However

Ingredients for meat sauce:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 1/2 t granulated garlic (or 6 cloves of garlic)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 t each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 C heavy cream
  • 28 oz puree tomatoes
  • 2 14.5 oz of diced tomatoes

Cook onion in oil.  Add the granulated garlic right before adding the meat.  Then brown the meat and season with salt and pepper.  Add the cream and allow to warm.  Add tomatoes, then allow to simmer for a few minutes.  (A lid is preferable so that now you can work on the cheese filling).

Ingredients for cheese filling:

  • 15 oz Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 c of Parmesan cheese (I’m sure the fresher this is, more would be better)
  • 1/4 C basil leaves (I don’t like too much salad crunchiness in my lasagna so I reduced this to 1/4 C)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 t each salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients until smooth.  Pretty simple huh?

Remaining Ingredients:

  • 16 oz Mozzarella, shredded.  (We just bought block and shredded it ourselves, probably the best way to go with most of these ingredients)
  • 12 oven-ready lasagna pasta pieces (one box, in most cases)

Now lay out the pasta, and top each with the ricotta mixture.  This makes it easier to evenly distribute the cheese filling.

In the bottom of a 9″x13″ casserole dish place a bit of sauce, just to keep the pasta from sticking/burning. Lay three pasta/cheese pieces in, pasta on the bottom.  Top the layer with mozzarella and then sauce.  Repeat twice: pasta/cheese, mozzarella, sauce. But with the last three turn them upside down and place the pasta on top of the cheese.  Top this with the last of the sauce and then the end of the cheese.

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There is an awesome diagram of the layers at the end of the CfE recipe.  One important factor is to try to keep things even.  I put my shredded cheese in a measuring cup and divided it into 4 portions.  The sauce can be more eye-balled but pay attention!

This meal was amazing.  Jacob really enjoyed it.  We ate it for like a week as leftovers.  And with a base like this the recipe can be modified to your tastes, like more mozzarella, more herbs in the sauce maybe, or different meats, or no meats at all and some more vegetables.

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This may take a while to understand, find the ingredients, and put together, but let me tell you.  It is worth it!

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