Seat-of-my-pants Lasagna


I say “oh, no recipe, I made this up” and it sounds impressive, but really, if you know how to make spaghetti sauce from scratch, you also know how to make lasagna.  And since my mother makes the best spaghetti sauce in the known universe, this was pretty much a no-brainer.

Lasagna

Lasagna!

  • 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
  • Ragu (see below)
  • Spinach bechamel (see below)
  • 2 8 oz packages shredded mozzarella cheese (you won’t need the full 16 oz, but one bag won’t be enough)
  • Parmesan cheese

FOR THE RAGU:

  • 1/2 lb each hot and sweet Italian sausage meat
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 2 med onions
  • 2 med-large carrots
  • 2 med zucchini
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • olive oil
  • Italian herb blend seasoning (I use Penzey’s)
  • salt, pepper

Chop the celery, carrots, and onions in the food processor (or by hand if you’re not as lazy as me).

In a large pot, heat oil until shimmering.  Add sausage, brown while breaking up with a potato masher (Best. Tip. EVAR.).  Add the mirepoix (that’s the celery/onion/carrot mixture you just chopped) and saute until veggies are softened.  Ideally you want to take your time with this step and let the mirepoix get really nicely cooked down, but if you’re in a hurry you can just let them soften.  Add the beef, saute until browned.  Grate in both zucchini. Add seasonings and tomatoes, cover and let simmer all day.  (Oh simmer burner, I love you.)

FOR THE SPINACH BECHAMEL

  • 1/4 cup each butter and flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 10-oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed but NOT drained
  • salt, pepper, nutmeg

Make a blonde roux with the flour and butter – should be no longer foaming and about the color of peanut butter.  Slowly whisk in milk to make a thick white sauce.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Whisk in spinach.

To assemble lasagna, layer as follows: ragu, noodles, bechamel, cheese.  Continue until noodles are used up, the last layer will be sauce (save some extra cheese for the top!)

Dylan eating lasagna

"I like noodles!"

Dylan Report: Dylan ate a good amount of this – lasagna’s a pretty kid-friendly food.  This isn’t exactly health food considering the amount of sausage and cheese involved, but it’s also about half vegetables, and since they’re part of the sauce kids can’t pick them out.

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