Ahhh lasagna. The word emanates comfort!! With its ooey, gooey cheeses and delicious marinara sauce, what’s not to love about it!!
Growing up in an Italian family, lasagna was a pretty frequent dish on our holiday tables. It seemed no matter who was hosting the holiday, there was always lasagna!! It is delicious, traditional and filling!! It’s also makes the holidays easier. It is a dish that can be made in advance and frozen! Once defrosted, just bake in the oven! No mess, no fuss!!! I love those kind of meals!
I have often heard of people making their lasagna with cottage cheese. Ummm, EWWWW!! Yes, this Italian New Yorker is being obnoxious!! STOP using cottage cheese in your lasagna people!!! Traditionally, lasagna is made using ricotta cheese not cottage cheese. Personally, I do not like the taste of cottage cheese and I just think it ruins the authenticity of traditional Italian lasagna. It might be a little bit more expensive, but I can assure you – it is worth it!!
One of my cousins back East is a vegetarian. So whenever we made lasagna, we would always make it without meat. Since I moved to Vegas, my family out here always makes theirs with meat. I still make it without and it has become a funny “argument” between us as to who has the better tasting lasagna. I like to think it’s me! 🙂
One of the things I love about lasagna is it reminds me so much of my mom. She was never a fan of cooking, but she did teach me some things including how to make tomato sauce and lasagna among some other Italian dishes. Every time I make my lasagna or have it for a family gathering – I remember my mom.
1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drizzle some olive oil in the water (this helps keep the pasta noodles from sticking together. Add lasagna noodles and cook until just al dente. (They should be cooked, but still firm.) Drain the noodles well.
2) In a large lasagna tray, ladle a scoop or two of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish so it completely covers the bottom. Put down one layer of lasagna noodles. Add a few tablespoons of ricotta cheese to cover the noodles. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and oregano over the top. Pour another ladle or two of tomato sauce and repeat the process.
3) Continue layering the lasagna noodles and cheeses until your casserole dish is full (or you run out of noodles!). Top the lasagna off with more tomato sauce and parmesan cheese.
4) Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes until completely heated through.
Can be frozen for up to 6 months. Cover the lasagna with plastic wrap and then cover with aluminum foil (be sure to cover with plastic wrap first as the acid from the tomato sauce will erode the aluminum foil over time). Remove from freezer a few days before you need it to allow it to defrost. Once defrosted, remove plastic and foil, recover with new foil and bake for about 1 hour at 350 degrees F or until heated completely through.