Mom’s Lasagna

I’m not a big fan of ricotta cheese.  I don’t know if it’s because the word “ricotta” sounds too much like “cottage” (I HATE cottage cheese) or what, but I’m not a fan.  Luckily, growing up my mom made a version of lasagna that did not include ricotta cheese.  Her lasagna is a big dish of meaty, cheesy goodness.  Served with a Caesar salad and some Sister Schubert rolls, Mom’s lasagna is what this Italian girl calls comfort food.

Mom’s Lasagna
1 package Barilla no cook noodles
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ham, cubed (You can get this at the deli, about 1/4″ thick, or use the prepackaged cubed meat in the deli meat section.)
2 packages mozzarella cheese
2 jars pasta sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (more or less depending on taste)

In a saucepan, cook the ground beef.  You can break it up a little, but I like having some bigger pieces in the meat mixture.  Drain the meat and let cool so you can handle it.  Put the meat in a mixing bowl and add the ham and one package of the mozzarella cheese.  Mix to combine. 

Preheat oven to 375*.  Spray a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray and add a little pasta sauce to the bottom of the dish to create a “bed” for the noodles (so they don’t stick).  Layer four noodles on the bottom.  They will most likely have to overlap a little, but they will expand during cooking. 

Layer the rest of the lasagna as follows:
Top of Dish
Cheeses (Mozzarella mixed with a little Parmesan)
Pasta Sauce (about 1/2 a jar)
Noodles (4)
Meat Mixture (about 1/2 the mixture)
Pasta Sauce
Meat Mixture 
Pasta Sauce 
Pasta Sauce (to prevent sticking)
Bottom of Dish

I like to press down on the last layer of noodles before adding the pasta sauce and the cheeses just to make sure everything is even and level.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake lasagna at 375* for 50-60 minutes, or until heated through and noodles are cooked.  Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.  This helps the lasagna firm up so you don’t lose all your layers on the first slice.  It also prevents tongue burning!

The Sister Schubert rolls (if you choose to have them) take about 15 minutes at 350*, so it’s the perfect thing to have on the side.  Just follow the package instructions.  You can also use this time to make your salad!

For some reason I don’t make lasagna very often.  Maybe because it takes a little more time than some other recipes.  Maybe because there are lots of ingredients.  Maybe because it’s not the healthiest thing for me.  I’m not sure what the reason, but I do know when I make lasagna it reminds me of my mama and it makes me smile.  It also freezes beautifully!  Mange!


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