When I first attended graduate school, it was at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. I was far from home for the first time, and I was enrolled in a brand new MFA program. There were four of us in the program, and since we spent about ninety hours a week together, we became fast friends.
One of the guys, Sean, was married, and he and his wife invited the rest of us over for dinner one night. They served lasagna. Now, I had never liked lasagna – ever. But, I was raised with manners, and, hey, I was a broke grad student. Never turn down free food!
I loved this lasagna however, and I didn’t leave that evening without the recipe. It is now my go-to recipe, and everyone I have ever met who doesn’t like lasagna likes this lasagna. I usually double the recipe and make three 8×8 pans (one for us, one to give away that day, and one for the freezer). You’ll see my “double” in the parentheses!
Sean’s Mom’s Lasagna
- 1 lb ground beef, browned & drained (I use 2 lbs)
- 3 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce (I use 3 jars of Prego Mushroom sauce)
- 2 cups ricotta cheese (I use one 32 oz. container)
- 3 cups shredded mozarella cheese (I just dump in about 5 or so cups)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (1 cup)
- 2 eggs (4)
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley (1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp salt (I use a grinder, so…whatever)
- 1/4 tsp pepper (see salt!)
- lasagna (Barilla no boil noodles are the way to go!)
In a bowl, combine the beef with two jars of sauce. Save back one jar. (You could totally use homemade sauce here, and I have in the past, but our tomato crop last year was not good. You still need the equivalent of three jars of sauce.)
In another bowl, combine all your cheeses, parsley, salt, and pepper.
In your pan(s), dump some of the sole jar of sauce in the bottom and spread it around. Lay lasagna noodles over the sauce. Add meat sauce over the noodles, then add cheese mixture over the meat sauce. Lay more lasagna noodles over the cheese. Add more of the meat sauce, the rest of the cheese mixture, and another layer of lasagna noodles. Top with the rest of the meat sauce, extra sole jar sauce if necessary, and then sprinkle with mozarella cheese.
Here you can spray foil with non-stick spray, cover your lasagna and either stick it in the freezer or bake it at 350* for 55-60 minutes. If you bake it, then remove the foil, bake for another 10 minutes or so (until cheese is browned). Allow to stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
If you are giving this away, you can either give it away at this point, with baking instructions, or you can bake it for about 30 minutes, pull it, and then tell them to finish it off for 30 minutes at home!
It’s lasagna, so, homemade bread is a great side, and I usually serve it with steamed broccoli!