Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saucy & Creamy Lasagna

I love lasagna, but it's really hard to find good lasagna.  I have tried for years to find a recipe that works for me.  I think I've finally perfected it -- this is a combination of a few recipes I've tried over the years.  I took the best from each recipe.  Give this a try and let me know what you think.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery ribs, chopped
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb Italian sausage
2 jars (26 - 28 oz) of your favorite pasta sauce (I like Prego Tomato, Onion & Basil)
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/4 cups Half & Half (not fat-free)
1 (15 oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Put a large stock pot of water over high heat to bring it to a boil.  Once boiling, add lasagna noodles and boil for nine minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Combine olive oil and butter in large frying pan over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and garlic and cook for five minutes until softened.  Add the beef and Italian sausage breaking up with a spoon, about 10 minutes, until browned.  Season the beef to taste.

Add pasta sauce to meat and allow to simmer over low heat as the rest of the ingredients are prepared.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a small saucepan and then add flour.  Whisk while cooking over medium-low heat for about 1one minute.  Whisk in the Half & Half.  Cook until the sauce boils (whisk often).  Stir in the ricotta cheese and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in nutmeg.  Remove from the heat.

Spray a 9 x 13" deep baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread 1/4 cup of the white sauce over the bottom of the pan.  Arrange 4 lasagna noodles in the dish and top with one third of the meat sauce mixture and 1/2 cup of the white sauce and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers two more times.  Top with four lasagna noodles and the remaining white sauce and the mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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