I was Garfield in another life. I’ve asked my mom to teach me how she makes her lasagna a million times over the phone, but there’s something different about actually being there and making it with her.
Every time I make a trip to Chicago I try to cook one thing with her (which sometimes is a ginormous fail because she’ll start cooking without me and finish by the time I come downstairs). This time I brought all the ingredients home for the lasagna the night before, but when we were supposed to cook I left the house for a second to run an errand with my dad and my mom called me to tell me she already started boiling the pasta. I caught her in time to tell her to stop so I can take pics and bake with her. The hardest thing is measuring portions because you know how moms do everything ‘by eye.’ But since it’s one of my favorite dishes of her’s, I had to try:
1 box of lasagna pasta
1 lb of ground beef (recipe here
12 oz Cottage Cheese
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
8 oz Mozzarella Cheese
2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
Spaghetti sauce (we used with carmelized onion and garlic)
Salt (to taste, about 1 tsp)
Pepper (to taste about 1 tsp)
Italian seasoning (to taste, about 1 tsp)
9×13 baking dish
1 tsp of butter, or cooking spray to grease baking dish
Cooking ground beef and pasta
1) Boil lasagna strips according to directions. Strain and set aside.
2) Cook ground beef (recipe here
). Add sauce to the ground beef. Heat, mix together, and keep aside.
3) Pre heat oven to 375 degrees
4) In a separate bowl, mix 1 egg with ricotta cheese. Mix in Italian seasoning, pepper and pinch of salt. In another bowl, mix the egg and spices to the cottage cheese.
5) Grease baking dish. You can use a cooking spray, a little oil, or we just used butter.
6) Lightly coat the bottom of the dish with a little of the sauce from the ground beef mixture (about 4 tbs). This will keep the bottom moist.
Coating baking dish and layering pasta
7) Place first layer of lasagna strips. About 4 should do it – make sure there are no spaces and it’s well packed.
8 ) Next, spread a layer of the ricotta cheese/egg mixture.
9) Layer over the cottage cheese mixture next.
10) Then top with the ground beef/tomato sauce mixture.
11) Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over that.
12) Then, place the second layer of lasagna strips. Repeat the same with the cheese and sauce layer.
13) Top now with the third layer of lasagna strips.
14) For the final layer, just add ground beef/sauce, and mozzarella, and finish by sprinkling the parmesan cheese.
Before covering and placing in oven
15) If you like, you can add a pinch more of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
16) Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Stick in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
17) Remove the foil cover, and let it bake for another 15-20 minutes.
Bake covered first then uncover for last 20 minutes
18) Let it cool for about 10 minutes before you cut into squares and serve.