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August 1, 2011

Meaty Cheesy Lasagna

Meaty Cheesy Lasagna
Today I was so in the mood for some lasagna. Call me Garfield…but I am so madly in love with lasagna. I am always looking for new ways to make the bestest of all lasagnas. This one tops the list.  
It was killer good!!! 

Meaty Cheesy Lasagna

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
3/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
6 slices of pepper bacon
12 ounces lean ground beef
10 ounces spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
42 ounces crushed tomatoes 1/4 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 tablespoons golden brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste

12-15 lasagna noodles (about 12 ounces)
30 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3.5 ounces)
2 large eggs
4 3/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 1/4 pounds)

1. Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic, red pepper; sauté until softened, about 12 minutes. Add beef and sausages to pan; sauté until cooked through, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer until flavors blend and sauce measures about 7 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Drain; cover with cold water.
3. Combine ricotta and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in eggs.
4. Drain pasta and pat dry. Spread 3/4 cup sauce over bottom of 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Place 4 or 5 noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit (I used a more narrow baking dish, thus only needing 4 noodles per layer). Spread half of ricotta-spinach mixture evenly over noodles. Sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella cheese evenly over ricotta-spinach mixture. Spoon 2 cups sauce over cheese, spreading with spatula to cover (sauce will be thick). Repeat layering with 4-5 noodles, remaining ricotta-spinach mixture, 2 cups mozzarella and 2 cups sauce. Arrange remaining 4-5 noodles over sauce. Spread remaining sauce over noodles. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese evenly over lasagna. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)
5. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil. Bake lasagna 40 minutes; uncover and bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes more. Let lasagna stand 15 minutes before serving.

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