I love lasagna. It’s one of my most favourite dishes in the world and part of that is probably because of a) my mom and b) the cheese! When you purchase lasagna (restaurant or frozen), the layers are often made with a ricotta cheese mixture and mozzarella cheese is sprinkled on top. However, my mom’s home recipe has always been different. It’s full of oozing, stringy cheese throughout, not just the top! As a preview, this is what it looks like.
Even though it may look like your typical lasagna, don’t let this picture fool you. The edges are crispy and the strings of cheese ooze a mile away. How to make my mom’s awesome recipe?
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 lb of ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 large button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 jars of tomato pasta sauce
- 1 tbsp of tomato paste
- 1 box of lasagna pasta (preferably the type that doesn’t require pre-boiling)
- 5 hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced
- Choice between 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced
- 2 tomatoes or 1 eggplant, thinly sliced (optional)
- 300g-450g of marbled cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you like it)
- Prepare the sauce: add 1 tsp of oil into a preheated pan at medium heat and add the ground beef. Once it’s fully cooked, strain the oil out with a colander and set aside. Add the onions into the same pan (the thin coating of oil from the beef should be enough grease) and brown. Once the onions are caramelized, add the mushrooms and cooked ground beef back into the pan. Cook for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to medium-low and add the pasta sauce and tomato paste. Mix and simmer for a few minutes until it boils. Constantly stir because it will bubble or cover it with a lid. Set aside.
- Prepare the lasagna: in your lasagna tray or glass container, add enough sauce so that it fully covers the bottom. Add a layer of pasta on top and then cover the top of the pasta with sauce. Add a layer of zucchini, then a nice layer of shredded cheese (several handfuls – depending on how cheesy you like it), and then add a bit more sauce on top. Repeat again by layering it with pasta, adding more sauce, layering with the egg slices, add cheese, add sauce, and then the next layer of pasta. Once you reach the third layer of the lasagna, you can either do another layer with something like sliced eggplant or sliced tomatoes or finish it off by adding sauce on top of the pasta and then sprinkling the top heavily with shredded cheese. The cheese should be the last addition to the lasagna.
- N.B. Ensure each piece of pasta is fully covered in sauce or it won’t cook properly in the oven.
- Bake: cover your lasagna with foil and cook based on the instructions on the lasagna pasta box (you can use a cookie sheet underneath the lasagna tray in case your masterpiece is protruding beyond the lasagna tray/container to avoid a drippy mess in the oven). The foil should be removed about 10-15 minutes before the end of the cooking time to let the cheese melt and pasta edges crisp up a bit.
You have to let it cool a bit and settle before you can eat it, but man this was and continues to be a dish I always look forward to eating and making! It’s so filling and comforting to eat. The best part is you can always freeze some of it for later once it cools off or you can make multiple batches at the same time to feed an army! Buon appetito!